How one officer's kind act brought this woman home

Posted May 10

Author Edith Wharton said, "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."

The officers of Charles County, Maryland certainly acted as guiding lights when they took 81-year-old Roberta by the hand and walked her home.

Roberta, who suffers from dementia, was reported missing by her daughter when she did not return from her daily walk down the driveway. Once Roberta hit the end of the driveway, instead of turning around, she just kept right on walking until she found herself lost in the woods.

Five officers and a canine were called on to search the woods; and, 40 minutes later, Roberta was spotted. A bit uneasy with the overwhelming appearance of the officers in the woods, she asked if they too were out for a stroll. Their simple reply was, "Yes," which put Roberta at ease and prompted her to share with them that she had somehow lost her way.

The officers had compassion on her and one officer lovingly took her hand to walk with her and gently lead her home to the daughter who reported her missing.

Rather than shame her for her mistake due to her dementia, the officers enjoyed a lovely walk with an inspiring conversationalist. They learned great wisdom from a woman who had lived a rich life full of experiences that she was happy and eager to share.

In their conversation, when she was asked what the key was to living a long and happy life, Roberta replied, “Eat good and stay active.”

Roberta’s secret to stay active is what led to her afternoon adventure in the woods. In the end, it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon, walking hand-in-hand with a kind stranger who wanted nothing more than to help lead Roberta safely home.

In a world filled with selfishness and greed, it is so good to see people filled with kindness and love. Officers often get a bad rap because of their profession and the way they are portrayed in the media, but these officers are a reflection of light and compassion.

There are still lights in the world spreading goodness, and it is up to all of us to seek them out and share their inspiring stories. These officers didn’t have to do what they did — Roberta may not even remember them and their actions — but we will remember and honor them as we share their story.

Their story is a reminder to all of us that we need to be that light we hope to see in the world. Spreading goodness is how we share light, and, once it catches on, that kindness will light up the world with love.

Things may seem dark, but light will always win.

It doesn’t really matter whether you are the candle or the mirror that reflects it. What matters is how you use your light to light the pathway of others. The more kindness we show to others, the greater our influence and the more we infuse the world with light and goodness.

Tiffany Fletcher, author of "Mother Had a Secret: Learning to Love my Mother and her Multiple Personalities"


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