A gas station manager recognizes a woman from a photo on an Amber Alert for two missing children on the news and calls the police.
Denton Longbow didn’t have the most exciting job in the world. He was the manager of a gas station on a state highway, and mostly he dealt with people passing through, filling up on gas, and downing a cup of coffee on the way to some exciting destination.
To pass the time he watched the news on the TV in his store, while his wife Daphne always wanted to watch the soaps. “Come on, Daphne!” Denton cried, “There might be something important on! You never know when a most-wanted criminal might walk in through that door!”
“Nonsense, Denton,” Daphne said, “Nothing EVER happens here!” But she was wrong.
Denton was busy restocking the candy shelves when an elderly woman with vivid red hair wandered in holding her purse in one hand and her car keys in the other. “Hello,” she said. “Please, could you fill up my tank?”
Denton said, “This is a self-service station, ma’am, you do it yourself.”
“Myself?” The woman looked terrified. “But I don’t know how!”
Denton sighed. “Well come along and I’ll show you,” he said.
He walked over to the woman’s car, but all the time something was tickling at the back of his mind. There was something, something…Where had he seen this woman’s face before?
The woman’s car was well kept, and two children were sitting in the back, both in a crying fit to split a person’s eardrums. It was the children that triggered Denton’s memory.
In the morning’s newscast, the anchorwoman had asked people to be on the lookout for two children who had disappeared with their grandmother the day before. The grandmother, a Mrs. Braxton, had picked the children up from daycare, and all three had vanished without a trace.
Now here they were, at Denton’s gas station, and it didn’t look as if there was anyone else with them. The children looked weepy but healthy, but the grandmother, Mrs. Braxton, looked very confused and upset.
Denton said, “Hey, those are cute little nippers! Would you mind if I went back to the gas station and got them some lollipops?”
The woman nodded eagerly. “Please! Do you think it will stop them from crying?” she asked. “I don’t know why they cry all the time and it makes my head hurt.”
“Sure will!” said Denton cheerfully, and he walked calmly back to the gas station. The first thing he did was pick up the phone, call the police, and tell them that the missing woman and the children were at his gas station.
He promised he would keep the woman distracted as long as possible to give the police time to arrive. Then Denton picked out a cherry lollipop and a lemon lollipop and took them back to the woman standing by her car.
If we all look out for each other, we can build a better community.
“Here you go!” Denton smiled. “Two lollipops, courtesy of the house!”
The woman opened the back door and handed the lollipops to the children who immediately stopped crying. “Cute kids!” Denton said. “What are their names?”
“Their names?” the woman looked even more confused. “Their names? I…I don’t remember…”
“Well that’s alright, “Denton said cheerfully. “I can’t remember my own name most days! So let’s see about getting you some gas!”
Denton pretended to fill the woman’s tank, then said, “Say, you traveling alone with the kids and all, how about I check your radiator and oil levels? Might as well check tire pressure too.”
“You can do that?” the woman asked. “Please! That would be lovely.”
“So where are you heading?” Denton asked as he opened the hood. The woman rubbed her hand across her forehead. “I…I don’t know…I was driving, and then…I was taking the children home…”
“So you live close by?” Denton asked.
“I don’t recognize anything!” the woman confessed with tears in her eyes. “I’m lost!”
“I tell you what, “Denton said. “A friend of mine is in the police here, and I’ll ask him to escort you back home, show you the way.”
“That would be very kind,” the woman said. “Thank you. It’s getting late now, and I do need to get home.”
At that moment, the police car pulled into the gas station and Denton walked over and said to the officers, “This lady is very confused, she doesn’t even know where she’s going. I don’t think this is a kidnapping!”
The officers got out of their car, approached the woman, and spoke to her gently. They asked to see her documents. “Mrs. Karen Foggart,” the officer read her driver’s license. “Is that you, Ma’am?”
“Yes!” the woman gasped, “Yes, that’s me!”
“Your daughter has been worried about you, Mrs. Foggart,” said the second officer. “And about the children.”
“My daughter?” now the woman looked very confused again, and a little frightened, “I have a daughter?” It was then that the officers decided to call for the paramedics to care for the woman while they took the children home to their mother.
Denton watched, worried as they led Mrs. Foggart into the ambulance and drove her away. “I just hope she’s going to be alright!” he said to Daphne. “Poor lady was so lost and confused. God save us!”
As it turned out, the doctors at the hospital diagnosed Mrs. Foggart with a form of dementia, which might have been set off by a tiny stroke no one had noticed — not even Mrs. Foggart.
She had been feeling fine and acting normally when she set out to fetch her grandchildren as she usually did, then something in her brain had flipped a switch and left her dazed and lost.
Three days after the incident, a sweet-faced woman walked into the gas station and asked for Denton. “I’m Mrs. Foggart’s daughter,” she announced. “I wanted to thank you for everything you did for my mother and my children. I wish more people were like you, willing to help and get involved! You’re a hero, Mr. Longbow!”
From that day on, Daphne never complained when Denton wanted to watch the news when her soaps were on…
What can we learn from this story?
If we all look out for each other, we can build a better community. Denton’s attention to detail led to Mrs. Foggart and the children’s rescue.
Kindness and understanding can help keep us all safe. Denton’s quick thinking in keeping Mrs. Foggart occupied until the police arrived helped get her to the hospital quicker.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who hands her teenage son to the police because she can’t control him.
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