The wind chill was 5 degrees below zero when Linda Houlton fell trying to get her mail, and for the next 19 minutes, she struggled to get back on her feet and out of the cold.
Though the home sits along her busy street in Des Moines, Iowa, no one stopped to help until Chris Meyer pulled up in a mail truck. It was not his normal route.
"We had a carrier that was gone that day, so I had a part of his route that I don't normally do," Meyer said.
It turned out to be a serendipitous assignment.
Security video from the home shows he lifted Houlton off the ground, carried her to the house and, on brand, retrieved the mail she had dropped in the fall.
"If it was my mother or my grandma, I'd want someone to help her out, and there was no one there to help her," Meyer said.
Houlton said she didn't know exactly how long she had been struggling alone until Meyer gave her the time. A timestamp on the security camera confirmed it was 19 minutes.
"It got to a point, I couldn't cry," she said. "It was so cold that he stopped and picked me up, even to get me on my feet. And I was still wobbly from being cold."
Despite the fall and time spent in the cold, Houlton has no lingering injuries.
"I'm not going to go out and check mail in the wintertime anymore," she said with a chuckle.
The family turns serious when recognizing Meyer's action.
Wen Boatwright, Houlton's son-in-law, found out what happened by watching the security video.
"Tears in the eyes. It was relief," he said. "A good Samaritan stopped and helped my mom. Saved her life. We need more people like him out there."
The family hopes Meyer will get some kind of national recognition for the rescue. But until such a time, they're letting him know how they feel.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Houlton said. "You're a very good Samaritan."