ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – This is a story of being in the wrong place at the right time, and going above and beyond.
Ben Garcia, a USPS mail carrier in Arvada, was delivering packages on Sunday, Feb. 4 in a developing neighborhood on the northwest side of the city. He had one package left when he made a mistake.
“I turned down one street too early,” he said.
Yet his wrong turn came at the right time for Connie Nolan.
“Ben was my guardian angel that day,” Nolan told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
Twenty minutes before Garcia realized he wasn’t on the right street, Nolan had slipped on her icy driveway, fracturing her leg.
“I was on my way to church,” she said. “I have a paralyzed right thigh, and that just happened to be the leg I stepped forward with and I went down like a ton of bricks.”
Lying helpless and alone, Nolan said she spotted an United States Postal Service truck down the street. That’s when she said a little prayer.
“I said, ‘Please help whoever’s in that truck to put on their left hand turn signal and find me’,” Nolan said.
Not a moment too soon, Nolan’s prayer was answered.
“As I’m turning, I see her waving,” Garcia explained.
Garcia stopped his truck, rushed to Nolan’s side and made a call for help.
“My military background kicked in,” he said.
That’s right. Not only is Garcia a heroic mail carrier, he’s a decorated U.S. Army veteran with a Purple Heart for his heroic service overseas.
“Not only does Ben own a Purple Heart, he has a heart of gold to me,” Nolan said, holding Garcia’s hand.
Nolan and Garcia reunited for the first time since her painful fall Wednesday.
She is recovering from her fractured tibia and fibula at the Gardens on Quail Rehabilitation Center in Arvada. As soon as she saw the man she calls her guardian angel, she reached up from her wheelchair to give him a hug.
“God bless you, Ben,” she said as Garcia handed her a get-well card.
Garcia never let go of Nolan’s hand during their interview with CBS4. He explained his job is more than just delivering mail, it’s caring for the community.
“It’s the people that matter, not the things we take,” Garcia said.
And making friends along the way.
“I can’t thank you enough,” Nolan said to Garcia.
“You don’t have to,” he replied. “I’m just truly glad you’re okay. It was like God’s will that I make the wrong turn. I was meant to find you.”
Nolan will spend the next several weeks recovering at the rehab center and Ben is already planning his next visit to see his special friend.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.