Postal carrier Ivan Crisostomo stopped short when he heard the odd sounds coming from the front yard of one of the homes on his assigned route.
Someone was hiding behind a tree, in obvious distress, and crying in sheer terror. Ivan, a father of four, couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t stop to find out what was wrong and ask if he could help in some way. So he cautiously approached and asked what he could do to help, but “she was afraid, she didn’t want to talk,” he recalled.
The girl behind those desperate cries was 16-year-old Crystal Allen, who just moments before had jumped out of a moving car to escape the clutches of a human sex trafficking ring. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to grab one of her captors’ cell phones beforehand, but she was paralyzed by fear and hadn’t used it yet to call for help.
After convincing her she was safe, Ivan finally told her to call her mom, Stacy Ohman.
“Until she handed the phone to Ivan and we spoke with him, we had no idea what was going on,” she said. “We had no idea where she was or anything.”
The next step was placing a call to the police, and Ivan stayed with her until they arrived, reassuring her all the while that if her captors were on their way back to get her, they’d have to go through him first.
She’d disappeared in March, after an alleged “friend” had lured her to Sacramento, and endured unspeakable horrors during the last three months. But she always hoped that she’d be reunited with her mom, and thanks to Ivan, that wish came true the day he found her.
And she recently had another reunion… this one with her personal hero. She had to wait a while for the initial shock and terror to subside, but Crystal wanted to thank Ivan for everything he did to bring her out of that horrible underworld and back into the light.
“He stepped up where a lot of people would have just kept driving down the road,” said Deputy David Cuneo of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. “He made a huge positive impact in this young girl’s life.”
Share to thank Ivan for taking action that day, and to encourage others to do the same.