A few days ago, I decided run an errand for my dad as a reason to escape, for a little while, from the computer and home. After I parked my car, the song (John Legend’s All of You) that had been playing in my head all morning was finally on the radio. As I was butchering the beautiful song with my non-singer’s voice, I noticed an elderly man who walked behind and in front of my car looking confused. I decided to help him after I saw him the third time. His back was slightly hunched, but it might have curved because of the cold weather. His feet shuffled when he walked.
“Do you need any help?” I announced, but had to loudly repeat it.
He told me that he could not find his car. He talked fast and rambled, so I had to listen closely. I offered to help him locate his tan Buick, thinking what does a Buick look like? Initially, I followed him more than anything. I was concerned for his well-being. A few times he was walking in the middle of parking lot, and was too occupied searching for his car than concerned of cars entering or exiting. Many drivers, especially in parking lots, do not have the patience waiting for someone to move out of the way; one driver attempted to drive around him by slightly turning the wheel to the left. But the elderly man took a step in that direction, and I grabbed his arm and lead him to the right.
At some point, I lost track of him as he weaved in-and-out of the parked cars. I took that opportunity to run into the store, pick-up what my dad needed, and tell someone about the elderly man.
“Thank you for informing us. We will call security.”
As I was walking out of the store, I saw the elderly man standing between the doors.
“Did you find your car?”
“No. I had to come in, my hands are freezing” he responded.
“Does your car have an alarm?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Can I see your keys?”
I saw next to his keys was that gadget that has opened and closed car doors buttons. And an alarm button. I suggested we try looking for his car again, but using the alarm button. At this point, I was not quite sure if he actually drove to the store. He was adamant that he entered the store using the furthest entrance to the right, and that he parked fifteen spots back. But still no car found. I considered that he had forgotten he came with someone, got lost inside, and could not find his car because they had taken his friend’s or relative’s. And if I could not trace his carpool buddy, what would happen? I was about to offer him to rest his feet and warm his hands in my car, but before I could he was weaving in between cars.
As he walked between a SUV and a car, a woman asked if he was looking for his car. She was the first person to offer help us; many people could have helped, but didn’t. He mentioned the alarm trick that I had told him about, and thought it was a good idea. She started to search retracing the steps we made.
“That’s my daughter-in-law.”
“Now he thinks this woman is a relative” I told myself. At first, she did not give any indications that she knew this man. But when we met up with her, she asked him a question ending it with “Pop” or “Dad” or another name a daughter-in-law calls her father-in-law; that was confirmed. She was in the middle of the lot when I heard her yelling about locating the Buick. He probably entered the store from the middle door, and left walking out from the doors closest to him, and forgot.
I walked back to my car as they were talking, and felt better about myself than I had earlier in the day.
I thought John Quinones (host of “What Would You Do?”) was going to jump out of a car and talk to me about what I did. But he didn’t. Under the circumstances, I think I handled the situation as best as I could. I learned a lot about myself, in a short time period, that day; I also learned what a Buick looks like.
If you see someone who needs help, help them, or you can tell someone who will hopefully assist. [Security was either not called, or did not respond.]