Local News

Missed hair appointment leads to rescue of elderly Chatham woman

Posted February 11, 2014

— An elderly Chatham County woman is recovering after she fell outside her home near Siler City two weeks ago and spent a snowy night in frigid temperatures.

If it wasn’t for a missed hair appointment, 89-year-old Tempie Lou Johnson may have been found too late.

“She didn’t show up, and I didn’t know what was wrong because she always came,” said Helen Kidd, who has been styling Johnson’s hair every Friday for more than 20 years.

Johnson’s fall happened in late January, when a winter storm dumped snow and sleet across much of the state. Johnson said she stepped outside her door when she fell.

“I didn’t see that black ice, and my foot flew out from under me,” she recalled Monday. “I didn’t have enough strength to get myself up. I was hollering to get somebody’s attention, but nobody could hear me.”

The temperature reached 17 degrees that night. As she lay in the bitter cold, Johnson turned to her faith and prayed for help.

“Is this really the way you want me to go? Freeze to death?” she said. “I never thought about freezing to death.”

Kidd called Johnson’s family the next morning when Johnson didn’t show up. That call led to her rescue.

"I told them I don’t deserve no credit because it’s the Lord’s work, not mine,” Kidd said.

Johnson was unconscious with extreme hypothermia when she was found. Hypothermia is a potentially fatal condition that occurs when the body’s temperature falls below 95 degrees. Her core temperature was 72.


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  • Patty MacRae Feb 12, 2014
    user avatar

    Thank you Miss Kidd for taking that extra step. You saved a life.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Feb 11, 2014

    Oh my goodness. What a blessing she was found in time. Prayers for her and many thanks to Kidd who acted quickly to notice and alert the authorities that something might be wrong.

  • mewuvbb Feb 11, 2014


  • liskm Feb 11, 2014

    Good example of small community caring about one another~the hairdresser calling family.

  • davido Feb 11, 2014

    So what you're saying is... those of us who are "hair challenged" and don't get regular hair appointments are doomed!

  • Hope Lives Feb 11, 2014
    user avatar

    C'mon people! She's not getting a weekly hair cut and I'm almost positive she's not paying anywhere near $50. She's just going once a week to get it styled like most old ladies do at her age. My mother in law is in her late 70s and goes every Weds for a style. She isn't paying $50 either....

  • kodywoof Feb 11, 2014

    You are an Angel Helen!

  • Elizabeth Deaver Feb 11, 2014
    user avatar

    I am glad she was found, but sad that she had to spend so much time alone in the cold. She looks much younger than 89 . . . she must be in great shape!

  • xylem01 Feb 11, 2014

    @KBIRD - Exactly. It's known as a Shampoo & Set.

  • Rolling Along Feb 11, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Her hair, her money. FWIW my MIL is a retired hairdresser/cosmetologist she had regular customers for over 35 years that came at the same time every week. Unless they were on vacation/out of town.