Imagine you are on a family outing in a charming but unfamiliar village. One of your group is locked inside the public toilet. You look in every direction for help but the sidewalks appear deserted. Everyone is home enjoying Thanksgiving.

That was the scene on Nov. 25 at about 2 p.m. when I eased into a parking spot on lower Main Street in Cold Spring, where Metro-North would soon deposit my kids for our first holiday together since COVID-19. I approached to offer assistance and assured the young woman trapped inside and her family members that I would stay with them until she was freed.

After several minutes trying to talk her through opening the lock, it was clear more help was needed. I dialed the Cold Spring Police Department and soon Officer John Martinez arrived. He used the keys at his disposal but the lock refused to budge. He contacted Officer-in-Charge Larry Burke, who secured support from the Sheriff’s Department. An officer arrived from Putnam Valley in due time with what appeared to be a weapons-grade crow bar. Using that tool and targeted force he managed to open the door with minimal-to-no damage and secure the young woman’s release.

Thanks to the officers who gave up time on their Thanksgiving Day to be of service, and especially to Officer Martinez, who managed the entire situation. Throughout he was professional, calm, competent, courteous and a kind, careful listener. He inspired confidence in the young woman and her family. He resolved an event that could have induced panic and distress, and enabled the whole family to go on their way, relaxed and grateful.

Later, when my kids and I sat down to our Thanksgiving meal, I gave thanks for all who serve while the rest of us work, play, sleep and celebrate, especially for Officer Martinez. He is exactly the kind of person you would want if you were ever in trouble, weekday or holiday. We are fortunate he is part of our community.

Priscilla Goldfarb, Cold Spring

Behind The Story

Type: Opinion

Opinion: Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

This piece is by a contributor to The Current who is not on staff. Typically this is because it is a letter to the editor or a guest column.