Missed hair appointment leads to rescue of elderly Chatham woman
Posted February 11, 2014
Siler City, N.C. — 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.