You’d Be Demented Not To Help

, , , | Right | March 24, 2017

(I am a customer in this story, observing this. It’s about 95 degrees today, and an elderly woman comes in to the store wrapped in a coat over a sweater.)

Worker: “Hi, Mrs. [Customer]! How are you today? Did you walk all the way here bundled up like that?”

Elderly Woman: “Yes. I’m running away.”

Worker: *laughing* “Running away? Was there another fight at bingo today?”

Elderly Woman: “No, my mom was being mean to me and I got mad and ran away.”

(At this, the workers eyes go wide; she mouths an apology to me before paging for another cashier. She leads the elderly woman over to a chair and encourages her to take off her coat and gets her a bottle of water. I hear her telling the woman to stay there for a moment and walks away to make a phone call. Curious, I wander over to see if everything is okay and hear her asking someone if there are any drivers to pick the woman up.)

Me: “Is everything okay? I can call a cab for her if you need.”

Worker: “No, that’s quite all right, thank you. Just making sure she gets home okay.”

(She goes back to the woman, who remembers she has a daughter with gentle prodding but can’t remember the phone number and didn’t bring her address book. The worker waves me over as I’m still standing nearby and asks me to stay with the woman for a minute. She comes back a moment later with her purse.)

Worker: “All right, Mrs. [Customer], let’s get you home.”

(She proceeded to clock out and lead the woman outside to a shady spot to wait for the cab, then went with her. When I went back a few days later and asked about it the manager told me the woman had a really bad bout of dementia and that the worker had recognized that and wanted to make sure she got back to the living facility safely. The woman was moved to a secured floor. I can only hope that if something happens to my grandparents or me that we have a worker like that to help us.)

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