by Derek Lang, Tampa Police Officer and Renee Bucher, TPD Communications Technician
(Republished from the TPD Blotter)
I was recently told a story from a dispatcher, that had received a call very early one morning about an elderly man that had wandered into the Salem’s Gyros. The man had a speech impediment and could not communicate well with the employees. The employees were able to find out by writing notes back and forth to the man that elderly man wanted a taxis cab. The employees were perplexed since he had arrived in a vehicle, but they called for the taxi. After it arrived, the taxi refused to take the gentleman because the driver was unable to communicate with him.
The employees still concerned for the man, made a plan to take him home themselves, one in his car and have the other follow behind. After arriving at what they were told was his residence by the confused and slightly disoriented gentleman, he acted as if he did not belong there. The employees decided to call Tampa Police for help.
An officer was sent out and confirmed, based on the registration of the vehicle, that they were in fact at the right place. The officer spoke with the gentleman’s son who was completely unaware that his father had found the keys (which he hides), slipped out of the house and took the truck. The son confirmed his father suffered from early stages of Alzheimer’s and was gratefulf or the officers and employees of Salem’s Gyros for their help in returning him home safely.
After hearing this story, I thought it was a great example of caring citizens and police working together to help another member of the community. Althought lost in the hustle and bustle of life, people doing the right thing happens more than one may think. It’s unfortunate you just don’t always get to hear about it.
If you know of someone suffering from Alzheimer or special needs, did you know the Tampa Police Department participates in SafetyNet by LoJack to help in locating them if they wander from home?
For more information on the program, go to http://www.tampagov.net/dept_police/ or call 813-276-3200.