Joaquin Lopez does not remember the good Samaritan who potentially saved his life.
The 79-year-old’s family was frantic when he went missing for over a day during his routine walk in East Hollywood, California.
Joaquin, who has dementia, went missing after leaving his home around 4 p.m. Hours went by, and Joaquin hadn’t returned.
“We were afraid maybe someone could jump him, take his money, and he doesn’t know what’s going on,” said Estela Bueno, his daughter-in-law.
She said that she and the rest of the family searched high and low and filed a missing person report.
“We were all driving until 4 a.m. in the morning. Our family tried to come home and go to sleep. I couldn’t because everyone just kept on calling me,” Bueno said.
The next day Bueno’s mother-in-law walked out and saw him standing at their doorstep. An Uber driver dropped him off after picking him up about seven miles away in Culver City.
“I hugged the lady,” she said. “I hugged her, and I asked if she knew who the lady was, and she didn’t know. She just told me that she was Asian and that she had paid for it, and to just make sure this was the place where he lived.”
The Uber driver was able to drop Joaquin at home because his ID was on him.
But how did Joaquin get seven miles away? And who was the mystery woman who recognized he was out of sorts and decided to pay for his cab ride home?
“We keep questioning him and asking him, but he doesn’t remember,” Estela said. “We ask him if he maybe slept somewhere, and he said he slept in some bushes, but we don’t know.”
Now, Joaquin still takes his daily walks, but not alone. And they’ve put an air tag on his belt, so in the event he ever goes missing again, they’ll be able to find him a little easier.
Bueno and her family hope that by sharing their story and gratitude, the kind, empathetic stranger will know how appreciated her act of kindness is.