MATTOON - Linda Livingston is a Mattoon postal carrier, always ready with a smile or a kind word.
That attitude helped save a city resident's life Monday when she discovered a man passed out in his pickup truck parked in a driveway. Her 911 call to help the man, who asked to not be identified, got timely medical treatment during a diabetic seizure. He has recovered from the incident.
"I had spoken to him quite a bit since I've had that route, especially during the summer. On Monday, I noticed he was in the pickup and sitting upright with his chin against his chest like he was sleeping. He always speaks to me, so I stopped to make sure he was all right because his wife was at work," said Livingston, a U.S. Postal Service employee for 24 years.
The man was not responsive to taps on the truck window or when Livingston opened the truck door and tried to revive him. A check of the pulse convinced her something was wrong.
She later learned the man had been nearly comatose due to dangerously low blood sugar. "That's when I was very glad I came along at the time I did," Livingston said. "They live on a cul-de-sac, so I'm not sure how long he would have sat there."
The man's wife offered her appreciation to Livingston through contacts with her supervisor and an e-mail to a Postal Service community communications network about postal worker performance.
"Carriers are the eyes and ears of what is going on in a neighborhood," said Kyle Browning of the Mattoon Post Office. This is the third time in recent years that Mattoon mail carriers have responded to assist people along their routes.
Livingston remembers growing up in Westfield and picking up mail at the post office because there was no house-to-house delivery. But she did carry on the neighborly attitude of how people in smaller towns like to know their neighbors.
"In Westfield, you knew everybody pretty much. I remember going to the post office and picking up mail and meeting people, but I never thought I would be a mail carrier one day," she said.