What is a gut feeling? It’s when without being able to explain it, you just have a feeling of knowing. it’s almost like a sixth sense that we develop from experience, or through our empathetic nature. Gut feelings have their own sense of certianity and urgency. That’s why when this postal carrier noticed that one of her regulars’ mail was piling up, she felt that something was wrong.
She had no proof and no way of knowing for sure, but it was strong enough of a feeling that she decided she had to something about it. This ended up saving a woman’s life, and here’s how.
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It Was Just Another Work Day
Like any other morning, Kayla Berridge put on her uniform, as usual, go her gear, and headed out to walk her normal 9-mile delivery route in Newmarket, a small town in New Hampshire. Kayla liked to converse with the residents on her route and got familiar with some of the regulars. It was a small enough town anyway.
That’s why that day, she couldn’t help but notice something unusual. When she passed by one of the regulars, an elderly woman’s house she had gotten to know, she found her mail had been piling up for three days. The woman was in her 80s and liked to usually chat but she was nowhere in sight, so Kayla got worried.
Better Safe Than Sorry
There were a million reasons Kayla could have found to justify the mail piling up the elderly lady’s absence. Maybe she traveled or was staying at a family member’s house for a few days. She could have just kept going and assumed that it was probably none of her business and that she didn’t owe anything to that lady anyway. But, Kayla cared about her job and about the people around her. She told WMUR 9 News that she couldn’t help but be “a little concerned.”
After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry: “I just had this gut feeling and wanted to make sure,” she explains adding “most people put a hold in if they’re not there, so when people pick up their mail every day, you start to notice their habits.” Plus, the woman’s car was still in the driveway so the chances of her traveling were slimmer. So Kayla followed her gut feeling.
Officers Were Called And Found The Woman Barely Alive
It’s sad to think that the majority of people would have just gone on their way, justifying their decision to do nothing with the assumption that someone else will take care of it, or that it’s someone else’s problem. But the issue with that is that so many of us became bystanders and all kinds of easy, fixable issues never get solved because we make excuses and keep passing on problems rather than finding the kindness in our hearts to put in the effort. Surely someone else could deal with it, but why can’t it be you?
Luckily there are people like Kayla who don’t wait around for help to come, and actually do something when they sense that someone needs a hand. Kayla followed her instincts and called the local police department for a wellness check. Officers made their way through the front door when they didn’t get an answer. They found the elderly woman trapped on her bedroom floor under heavy artwork and frames. They speculated that these items on the bed fell onto her, pinning her down for three full days.
The Road To Recovery
Imagine having to sit in agony, without food, water, a bathroom or a way to call for help for three full days. There’s a chance the woman had given up, thinking that at this point no one was coming for her until it was too late. By the time the officers found her, the elderly woman was suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. If Kayla hadn’t called just in time, the woman would have died. By going the extra mile, she saved her life.
This story is a testament to how everyone can make a difference. While making a simple phone call to check on someone seems like a small task, it can have an unmeasurable impact. Kayla happened to live in a small town where familiarity made it easier to connect and support one another in the community: “Everyone has each other’s backs,” Berridge told CNN.
She Didn’t Have To Do Anything
The point of the story is that Kayla didn’t have to do anything. If she had continued walking to finish her job, and assumed that the lady was probably fine, she wouldn’t have been doing anything wrong. There’s no way she could have known what the elderly lady was going through. But the fact that she decided to go out of her way just to make sure, saved that woman’s life. Officer Stevens wanted to give credit where credit was due. He felt that Kayla’s quick thinking was “part of being a letter carrier in a small town,”and that her actions were “taking your job to the next level.”
Thanks to the ease and convenience of social media and communication technology, we can all partake in our own “wellness checks” whenever we notice red flags that someone has been M.I.A too long or posts cryptic messages.
A Reminder To Check On Your Loved Ones
While wellness or welfare checks have historically been associated with the elderly, they should be used as “critical tool” for the safety of everyone, even young adults, especially with the “rise of suicide rates among adolescents and young adults.” You never know who is struggling. We’re so good at slapping on a smile in the morning, putting up a facade online, and seeming happy when we’re secretly struggling on the inside.
Let this be a reminder to check on your loved ones. Don’t even wait till you think that something is wrong. Just pick up the phone, let someone know you’re thinking about that and that they’re loved. it may not seem like much, but it could make all the difference in the world to them at that moment. In some cases, it could even be the difference between their life and death.
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Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives