Aug 192016

We woke up to the sound of thunder yesterday morning, and a little after noon another storm rolled through Elkhart Campground, bringing more water to the already saturated ground.

A week or so ago local farmers were worried that if they did not get some rain soon they might lose much of their corn crop. In the last few days so much has come down that now they are saying it will destroy much of the same crop. Be careful what you wish for.

I spent part of yesterday working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, and then in the afternoon we made what we thought would be a quick run to Eye Mart in Mishawaka to get Terry’s second pair of glasses adjusted. I dropped her off, then went across the parking lot to Target to pick up a couple of things.

As I was going in I saw an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench out front and something didn’t look right but I wasn’t sure what. When I came back out he was still there, and that little voice in the back of my head told me something was wrong, so I walked over to check on him.

As I got closer I realized he was crying. I asked if he was okay and he said he was lost. He thought he was in Chicago (100 miles west of there) and said he had left his home in Elkhart (10 miles to the east) and had been driving for two or three hours.

I sat down with him and talked to him a little bit and he calmed down. His name was Dick and he remembered calling “some lady” who he thought was his wife and telling her where he was, but he wasn’t sure if she was coming or not. He gave me a phone number and I called and left a message saying who I was and where I was, and that I would stay with him until somebody called or came for him.

Dick was a nice old gentleman, but very confused, and a couple of times he broke down again, embarrassed and scared. I told him we’d get it figured out and promised I’d stay there with him until we did. We chatted for a while and he seemed to be okay, still just confused and wondering how he had ended up there. He said he left home to run a quick errand and then couldn’t remember how to get back home. Whenever he started to talk about that he’d get upset again, so instead we talked about other things. He told me he is 86, used to be a consultant to the restaurant business, and thought he had owned an RV at one time.

I called Terry and she was done at Eye Mart, so she walked across the parking lot and joined us. Dick remembered he had a son who is an attorney in Elkhart, and I got his name and did a Google search for him and called his office. Nobody was there, but I left another voice mail. It took an hour or so for Dick’s wife to arrive and he sure was glad to see her. We were glad he was in safe hands and on his way back home.

My mother had Alzheimer’s at the end of her life and when I visited she always thought I was my dad or one of my brothers (all three had passed on years earlier) and she kept asking why Nick never came to see her and why he didn’t love her any more. I’d tell her who I was and she’d be okay for a few minutes, then start asking where Nick was again. It was very hard on both of us. So my time with my new friend Dick yesterday raised a lot of bittersweet memories. I’m grateful I listened to that little voice inside my head that said something was wrong and took the time to check on him. Always listen to that little voice, my friends. It’s right more often than it’s wrong.

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  41 Responses to “Listen To That Little Voice”

  1. You earned some major karma points with that good deed today Nick.
    Two thumbs up!!!!

  2. Thank you Nick. Thank you for being a kind and caring Gentleman.

  3. Nick, I’ve always loved your writing and your tell it like it is style but you just went up another million points in my book. My dad has dementia we make sure he wears an ID bracelet with contact info. I hope if he ever wanders off and gets lost an angel like you will be there for him.

  4. Way to go Nick. Proud of you man.

  5. My father had Alzheimers and there was one very frightening time when he left the house while my stepMOM was taking a bath. He was missing for about six hours with helicopters searching for him. About dusk the Oklahoma State Capitol Police called to say they had picked him up going the wrong way on the traffic circle.

    What you did for this gentleman and his wife was a wonderful act of kindness. God bless you.

  6. There is a special place in heaven for people like Nick and Terry

  7. I have been a blog reader for over 4 years but never commented before now but I have to after reading this post. In a world where all we hear about is political battles and racial fighting and everybody hating everybody else you brought tears to my old eyes Nick. The time you took yesterday to comfort that confused old man and to stay until he was with a family member is a reminder that there really is more good in the world then there is bad. Its sad that the media never mentions things like this.

  8. I cried when I read about you and your mom. I’m living that nightmare right now. My husband of 54 years no longer knows who I am and asks for me a hundred times a day. He cries because he thinks I have left him with this strange women who feeds him and changes him and bathes him. To him I am the Nurse Lady and his wife Marylyn has left because he was too much trouble.

  9. I’m so glad it was you and not some jerk who would have taken advantage of him. And that you stayed with him so he did not wander off again. You did good Nick.

  10. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Even round. Very proud of you Nick. Most people would not have taken the time to look after a total stranger like you did.

  11. Good Nick reminded us that we could all be lost some day. I hope that Angel Nick finds me, too.

  12. I have tears in my eyes because this brought back memories of my own father’s battle w/Alzheimers – thank God you were there and listened to that little voice.

  13. thanks Nick.

  14. Boy Nick you sure earned a Star in Heaven for that kindness.
    You know sometimes I think “but for the Grace of God there go I”.
    That is why I have a contact on my cell phone: In case of Emergency call—XXXXX. You never know when an accident, or stroke would leave you in the same position, at least he was verbal with you.

  15. I’m surprised the wife hadn’t called the police. It’s amazing how far someone with dementia can travel from home.

  16. What Patricia said.

  17. You’re a good man Charlie Brown!!

  18. Nick.. you are an angel….

  19. You’re a very caring person and I admire what you did. Hopefully the next time I see something ‘not quite right’ I won’t just walk past. Thank you so much. You helped that gentleman and his wife immensely.

  20. Thank you

  21. And that is a memory you will always keep hopefully. Thank you

  22. Thanks for sharing this part of your travels. This is the real Nick we know and love.

  23. I’ve been down that road with my mother. Thank you for being the caring person you are.

  24. If you see me sitting on a bench or something else sometime, I hope you will come sit with me until someone comes for me. 🙂

  25. Thanks for stopping and talking with him Nick.. More stories like this one, much better than the restaurant blog.

  26. Nick,
    You were an angel. You did one of the nicest things I have heard about in years. I hope you receive the kindness and thoughtfulness that you share with another human being. I think you are wonderful! You renewed my faith during a ugly week. Thank you!

  27. Nick, you deserve a gold star for your response to the situation.

  28. Thank you Nick, we sure need more caring people in our world like you.

  29. So many emotions: tears as I read about your mom and about the loved ones of some of the other commenters; joy in the reminder that there are still good, kind, caring people in this world; and a bit of frustration that there are not more stories like this shared in the media. What a better world it would be if there was more love and kindness and less hate.

    I am so glad that you could be there for that couple and that you listened to that little voice in the back of your head.

    God bless you.

  30. Way to go Nick, you are one hellava man, not much telling what would have happened to that gentleman if you had not come along.

  31. You are such a kind, caring man. I was going to ask why there aren’t any single guys like you, then I realized it was because you are such a kind, caring man. Miss Terry is a a lucky lady and the world is a better place because of you.

  32. My mother did the same thing and sat in a restaurant from 9 am until they closed at 1 pm and told her she had to leave. a policeman found her in the parking lot there had been an APB out for her for hours. How could that restaurant staff not notice an 83 year old lady in bedclothes sitting there for 16 hours? I’m so glad you were there for him and took the time to get involved Nick.

  33. Cool story. You’re a good man.But I already knew that!

  34. You are a good man, Nick!

  35. God bless you Nick and Terry. My Dad is in mid-stage dementia now at age 86. It’s very hard watching this progress in a former fighter pilot who flew everything but jumbo jets over his almost 30+ year career with the Air Force and FAA. Sharp as a tack all those years, and now he struggles to remember our names. He gets so very frustrated too. Thankfully there are still some good times when his old sparkle and wit will resurface, and we cherish those. Thank-you so much for looking after that gentleman. Acts of kindness like that lift us all up when times are tough.

  36. Thank you on behalf of all of us who have delt with family members with dementia. I always knew you were a teddy bear at heart.

  37. I’m always telling my delivery people to take of our senior citizen customers as we’ll all be there one day. Your a good man Nick.

  38. Thank you, Nick and Terry. This brought tears to me and an ache for his wife. My mom also had Alzheimer’s. It truly is the long goodbye. You are an angel!

  39. Thanks Nick for caring. We went through this with my Father in law. He once was gone for 14 hours in the car. Thankfully someone helped him get home also.

  40. I know everyone who read your blog said a silent thank you, but I had to post a comment to say out loud what everyone else has, Thank You. So many of us have had a parent who struggled through the stages of dementia we can really relate and appreciate you taking the time to notice. God Bless both you and Terry.

  41. There are good people in the world and your one of them. We all need help at some time in our life. Thanks for stepping up when someone needed you.

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