Mom & son delivery duo notice something very off on their daily route—they immediately dial 911

“As soon as I stepped out it was very bad.”
January 22, 2018 5:35 pm Last Updated: January 22, 2018 5:35 pm

You may not have realized that being a newspaper delivery person can be quite an exciting job, but apparently, these humble people even save lives.

When one mother and son delivery duo smelled something in the air, they knew something was wrong. They put their delivering duties on hold—and become local heroes, averting a terrible potential tragedy.

Delivering the paper, as it turns out, isn’t necessarily all that dull.

On the early morning of January 3rd, Kathleen Thomas and her son Jeff Shinko were driving their regular paper route in Lehman Township, Pennsylvania. They were delivering The Citizens’ Voice, a newspaper job they have been working together for several years.

It’s a job that’s surprisingly eventful.

The pair is on the job every single day, and they have encountered a wide number of strange occurrences—such as horses breaking free of their paddocks and running around the neighborhood, or an occasional fallen tree.

But although they help their customers in a wide variety of ways, nothing quite prepared them for what they encountered two weeks ago.

“As soon as I stepped out it was very bad.”

(Photo By Douglas Cumming/CC BY 2.0)

As the mother-son team pulled up to the next house on their route, Thomas immediately noticed something odd.

“I stepped out of my vehicle to deliver the paper on the porch and noticed a very bad natural gas smell,” Thomas said, according to The Citizens’ Voice. “As soon as I stepped out it was very bad.”

Gas leaks are not something to take lightly. Thomas knew this and wasted no time. They attempted to contact the customer who lived at the address, but no one answered.

So, while Thomas was in the midst of leaving a voicemail, her son called 911.

Although it was 4:00 am and the temperature was below freezing, the delivery team waited outside the home to make sure their customers would be all right.

“She did a great job.”

When Firefighters arrived, they too noticed the smell. They called the local gas company, UGI Utility, to further investigate. When utility crews arrived, they found the culprit almost immediately—a weather-beaten gas valve had caused a severe gas leak.

Soon the gas was turned off, and the neighborhood was saved.

Thomas was hailed as a hero for her quick-thinking by the community. A major gas leak like this could have led to serious tragedy.

“She did a great job,” Back Mountain deputy fire chief Jay Wilkes said, according to The Citizens’ Voice.

The owner was also grateful for Thomas’ help and said that she owes Thomas and her son a “major thank you” for getting involved.

While hailed as heroes, the duo just considered their service part of their job.

Posted by The Citizens' Voice on Friday, January 5, 2018

Thomas was even commended by Pennsylvania State Senator Lisa Baker, who lives nearby, was awoken by the commotion, and came out to investigate. After piecing together the story, she heaped tons of praise onto both the firefighters and the delivery duo for braving the elements to avert a tragedy.

“Not only did she act very promptly, but Back Mountain EMS got here quickly,” Baker said according to The Citzens’ Voice. “Her quick-thinking action certainly helped my neighbors.”

Although Thomas was happy to receive such praise, for her, it was all part of the job.

“My customers may not know me personally, but my son and I are out there 365 days a year,” Thomas said according to The Citizens’ Voice. “There is no better job, I will tell you that.”

The experience has inspired Thomas to maintain a sharp nose on alert for potential problems in the future.

“It’s not all about the newspaper,” Thomas said according to The Citizens’ Voice. “Sometimes it’s about the customers.”