I ran into a former coworker yesterday and she said she thought of me the other day when she saw someone helping an elderly person across the street. She was referencing this story that I shared on my blog over 2 years ago. What I experienced that day changed my life forever. I learned that when you help someone in need you actually get more out of it than the person that needed the help. It's amazing people aren't helping others more often! Some of you that have been reading my blog awhile may remember this story...
I have a thing for white aprons as you can see. I don't use them I just like to display them. The middle one is one of my favorites because it's linen. I just love linen and lace!
The white aprons were my planned post for today but then something happened yesterday that I have to share...
I was driving back to work from an appointment I had yesterday morning. I was irritated because the appointment had started late and I was very late getting back to work. For some reason I was not paying attention and I turned onto the wrong freeway! Luckily further up the freeway there is a road that connects to the freeway I should have been on so I took that exit. I was going with the flow of traffic when I realized even though we had a green light that cars were stopping. I slowed down and then I saw a tiny, very hunched-back old lady crossing the street against the traffic! A car came flying up in the lane next to me and I thought for sure I was going to witness this lady get hit by a car. I let out a huge gasp, my heart dropped into my stomach and every muscle in my body tightened up! Luckily the driver saw her in time and was able to stop. I could tell the woman did not even know what was going on around her!
Once she finally reached the other side of the street, our light turned red so we were all sitting there in our cars looking at this woman. I was waiting for someone to help her as I'm sure everyone else was. I realized that I needed to step up and offer to help. The light was still red so I got out of my car and yelled over to her to see if she needed help. As she looked up, I could see tears in her eyes and she shook her head yes.
When the light turned green, I turned into the parking lot. She was so frail. Her back was so bad, her body was bent in half with her face pointing to the ground. She was wearing pajama bottoms and she had a push cart with a few belongings; just some candy, a newspaper, adult diapers and a pillow. She told me she was from Modesto, which is over an hour away and that she had come here for her mother's funeral. She said some mean woman had stolen her money that she was going to use to take the train back home to Modesto. She said she only needed $15 more. I started to think maybe it was a scam but then I remembered how she was almost hit by a car. I told her to get in my car and I would get her help.
My cell phone is broken so I drove her back to my work and told my coworkers what happened. They gave me some money for her, about $14. She was in a lot of pain and told me she had a prescription at a pharmacy that she needed to get for back pain. I took her to a pharmacy by my work and got the prescription transferred there. I bought her the medicine, some adult diapers because she only had two left, wipes & lunch. I wouldn't have been able to spend this much money on her this time of the month because it's rent time but I had just received an unexpected check for $100 and I really feel like it was meant for her.
She told me she had dementia. She did not want me to call the police so I told her I wouldn't. I kept asking her if she had any friends or relatives. Her husband was dead and she didn't have any children. She had friends in Modesto but not in the San Jose area. Then she told me she had a friend but that it was too far away and she didn't want me to have to drive her that far. When she told me where her friend lived I couldn't believe it...it was just down the street from where we were. I had driven her about 15 - 20 minutes away from where I first found her and now we were near someone she knew.
When I took her to her friend's house no one was home but they had a bench in front of their house and she told me she would sit there, eat the lunch I bought for her and wait for her friend to come home. She assured me that her friend never leaves for long and that she would be home soon. I gave her $20 and left her my business card, my home phone number and told her she could call me if she ever needed help. She gave my a hug goodbye and I left with tears in my eyes! I felt horrible leaving her there but I had to get back to work and she assured me that it was okay.
I went back to work and called the police department of the city I found her in to see if anyone had reported her missing. The police dispatcher said no but didn't bother to take my name or number which I thought was odd. I couldn't stop thinking about her.
When I got home from work last night I called the police department again. The woman questioned me about not calling them when I found her and I felt horrible...maybe I didn't do the right thing? She took my name and number and said she was going to research it more and they would call me if they found out any more information.
I haven't heard from them yet. I'm feeling sick because I really think I should have called the police to help and not just left her at that home. I didn't listen to my intuition ~ I just did what she asked.
Her name is Helen Ruiz and she's from Modesto, California. She told me she was 69 years old but she looked so much older. If by chance someone reads this and knows her I would love to know that she's okay. I really believe that somehow I was guided down the wrong freeway and given that money so I could help her. Isn't that amazing how that happens! I sure hope she's okay. I know I will never forget that day and how good it feels to help someone in need!
Update: I called the Modesto Police Department today and left a message with an investigator there. I haven't heard back from her yet. Another update: I heard back from the investigator and she did a local search and then also did a national search using different ages and there was no one reported missing with her name.
I also got an nice email from someone who reads my blog and lives in Modesto. She is going watch the news and check the newspapers there to see if there are reports of someone missing.
Also, I thought about going back to the house but my friends say I shouldn't. She has my phone number so hopefully she will contact me or if she needs help someone will find my numbers in her purse and contact me.
I never did hear anything more from her but just knowing I got her out of a busy intersection and bought her food and other things and took her to a friend's home made me feel good. I'm so glad I didn't do what every other person did at that intersection....NOTHING...which is what I would have done in the past. I don't know what made me step up and do something that day but I'm sure glad I did!