Yesterday while heading into a Burnsville business I have affectionately renamed “The Adult Treehouse”, I was approached by an elderly Asian woman with a cane. While I normally would not have mentioned her race, as she came towards me she held out a card which was attached to a lanyard around her neck and it was made clear to me the woman did not speak much, if any, English. On this card was a name, Burnsville address, and a phone number. After a few gestures it was made clear to me that I was to call the number on the card for instructions.
I called the number and spoke to a man who told me this was his mother, she was probably lost and lived nearby, and to put her on the phone. After she spoke to him she handed the phone back to me and he told me that I should just drive her to the address on the card which was likely nearby. Assuming he lived somewhere in the general area, I told him I’d wait with her until he arrived. Being that he lives in Brooklyn Park, he pressed me to just take her home, something I admittedly I replied to with something like, “You have got to be kidding me.”
Uncomfortable putting an elderly woman in my car and driving her several blocks home, sadly considering all the bad that could come from a man driving an unknown female home, I eventually agreed to temporarily care for the woman while I dialed 911. Dispatch rolled two Burnsville police cruiers who were en route almost immediately. Being that we were only two miles or so from the police station I rightly assumed they would be there in short order. Unfortunately when I told the woman that the police were on their way to escort her home she immediately, and quickly, began to hobble the wrong way on Nicollet away from me. I contacted 911 again to report her change and they asked that I stay with her as best as I could so that officers could locate her.
Both officers arrived and handled the situation from there. I tweeted about the incident and praised the Burnsville PD for their quick response:
Many thanks to the Burnsville PD for picking up the lost elderly woman who spoke no English but had a card w/her address around her neck.
However, while I did everything in my power to safely ensure the woman was cared for, I received a text from the man I had only a few minutes prior called about HIS mother who was wandering Burnsville lost:
Aside from that being the most ridiculous statement ever, I was flabbergasted. Not only did I help this woman by calling him but I ensured she was brought home by the safest ride I could have procured for her. I felt I did far more for her than he did, asking complete strangers to assist her in getting home safely, yet I’m the bad guy?!
Again, many thanks to the Burnsville PD and to the two officers who responded so quickly to help resolve this situation!
What do you think about this one? Should I have been chastised for the way I handled the situation? Would you rely on strangers to help your lost and confused mother get home? Would you have called 911 instead? If this happened enough to have your mother put this around her neck, would you do more to move her into a facility which was better equipped to handle people who may get confused or lost? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.