Lovely day at ComicCon, and then ended strange and sad. We came home via Uber, and there was a black car parked in the street, still running with lights on, in front of our neighbors across the street. We assumed it was another Uber picking up or dropping someone off, so we thought nothing of it.
About 15 minutes later I notice it's still there, still lights on. Strange, but..they aren't breaking any laws so *shrug*. An hour later it is still there when my neighbor gets home--dogs barking, go to look, car is there and neighbor is kinda looking at it strangely, but the windows are dark, so you can't tell if anyone is in it. I ask Chris to go out and get the license number in case it is an abandoned car. We can call the police and inquire.
He grabs a flashlight and asks me to go out with him, with the phone handy in case it is something dangerous and I need to call 911. We walked over there and he shines the light in the window...and there caught in the light is an old man mouthing frantically at us "Help me!". I run over and open the door, and he can barely speak. I lean in and put my ear close to his mouth and he hoarsely whispers "Call the police." Chris calls 911 and I squat down by him and lean in to hear him better. He is weak and barely moving. His hands are clenched on his thighs and he doesn't think he can move. "I can't do anything," he kept saying. I put my arm around him and told him we won't leave him and we are calling for medical help.
Chris talks to dispatch while I get him talking. Asked his name, where he lives, how old he is, how he got out here this time of night alone. He starts to perk up a little and speak more coherently and strongly as we talk. He tells me his name is Tom Healy, he is 85, lives on the other side of 99 and up a few blocks. He tried to call for medical help earlier and realized all he could say was "Hello" and couldn't get help. So he got in the car to drive himself to the hospital. He got lost and realized he couldn't move well any more so parked the car and had been sitting there OVER AN HOUR while we neighbors came and went, thinking the car was just an Uber or something, waiting for someone to come help him.
I told him I wouldn't leave his side until help came. We chatted about being native Seattlites (rare!), if anyone was looking for him (family lives near by), and about his sweet vintage music CD collection in the door. He reminds me so much of Chris' late grandfather, who passed away around this age, and I feel heartbroken that he has been out here alone and scared so long. A fire truck comes down the street, cordons off the road, I tell him I will stay nearby, and Chris and I move out of the way but within his sight line so he can see we are still there. They do all the usual tests and whatnot and call for an ambulance. It takes longer than I expect, but they come lights a'blarin, which brings our neighbor to the window, so I walk over to explain what went on. He feels as terrible as we do for not walking over to investigate more closely.
Before they loaded him up, I asked if I could talk to him. I tell him it was nice meeting him, but I wish it had been better circumstances. "Me too!" he said with a little chuckle. I tell him to get better. He says, "I don't know that I will. I don't think they can do anything for me." I poked him in the arm playfully and say, "Don't be an Eeyore, now. You concentrate on getting better, okay?" He nods and thanks me for helping him. I want to hug him so bad it hurts.
We saw him off in the ambulance, shook hands and thanks all the firemen (and firewoman!), and gave all our vital details to both the firemen and the EMT's. We offered to let them park his car in our driveway, and they gave us his cell number to call him tomorrow to arrange him or his family getting his car back when they can. ComicCon plans may be changed tomorrow accordingly.
I have been on the verge of tears feeling like a horrible human being--a true city-dweller who is too afraid to approach a car (a late model black Mercedes with tinted windows, fairly) for fear of getting hurt. All the while, he was begging for someone to find him and help him, scared and alone. I'm just glad Chris agreed to go out and had the forethought to bring a flashlight, or who knows how long that poor, sweet man would have been out there in the cold. I am also on the verge of tears feeling blessed that we WERE there and able to help him in time to get medical care.
I feel shaken. Tired. Sad. It reminds me of how I felt when we were first on that car accident scene around this time last year. I still think of Betsey often and wonder how she is doing. And I believe I will continue to think of Tom and hope he is safe, comfortable, and loved to the end of his days.