SACRAMENTO — Postal carrier Ivan Crisostomo takes the same postal route every day.
But on June 8, his normal delivery schedule in South Sacramento was anything but.
“I hear this crying, this desperate crying,” he said. “I saw her hiding behind this kind of bush, kind of tree.”
Crisostomo, a father of four, said his instincts kicked in when he saw 16-year-old Crystal Allen sobbing in someone’s front yard.
“She started to point to her arm, saying, ‘They were putting things in me. They were putting things in me. They are coming to get me,'” Crisostomo said.
He quickly realized that the girl had just escaped from being held captive by sex traffickers.
“They told me that they were taking me somewhere to hurt me and I kind of just thought I’d grow the balls and jump out the car,” the girl told FOX40.
The girl says she was able to grab her captor’s cell phone when she jumped out of the car. The first thing she did was call her mother.
“Until she handed the phone to Ivan and we spoke with him, we had no idea what was going on,” the girl’s mother, Stacy Ohman, said. “We had no idea where she was or anything.”
Crisostomo stayed with the girl until police arrived and took her to the hospital.
“Don’t worry,” Crisostomo told Allen. “Nobody’s going to take you. I’m here for you. Don’t worry.”
Allen says she was drugged, tortured and abused for three months. Until Crisostomo found her, her family didn’t think they would ever see her again.
“I just cried all the time and prayed that I’d get to see my mom again,” Allen said.
Thursday, Allen met Crisostomo again and thanked him for stepping in and getting her to safety.
“Ivan himself is a hero for saving me,” she said. “Even though he doesn’t think it.”
Allen says she’ll always be grateful to Crisostomo for giving her a second chance at a better life — but Crisostomo says he considers helping people part of his everyday duties.
“We, as mailmans (sic), we have a duty, as a human beings, being there, knowing the people,” he said. “We have a kinda different responsibility a little bit with our neighbors and with the people we serve. That’s how I see it.”