Many Westporters received reverse-911 calls on their cell or home phones — or both — today. They said an elderly woman had wandered away from home.
Elaine Clayton got the call too. Unlike most of us — myself included — who were angry at the intrusion, or wondered why the cops would call about such a thing, Elaine acted.
She had just left her son’s class Halloween party. She hadn’t planned to go, but at the last minute she did.
Driving home, she noticed a woman walking on the sidewalk. “Visually, for me, time sort of stopped,” Elaine writes on her Illuminara blog.
The sun was on her, and shadows from leafless trees were dancing on her back. I noticed she wore denim and had white hair. I especially noticed the light on her hair. She limped a little. She was walking at a quick pace but with some effort. And that was that, a mental picture for me that would get stored away in my artist brain, I guess.
When Elaine got the reverse-911 call, she thought: “If the person I saw is this missing person, no wonder she was limping. She’s walked several miles to be all the way over here.”
She called the police. Ten minutes later, they called back. Elaine had been right. The woman was found. They thanked her for her efforts.
I am very visual, being a figurative artist, but if you had asked me to describe all the walkers, bikers, joggers I had passed on the road on the way home, I might not be able to tell you too much. For some reason, I knew exactly what this woman looked like (from behind at least) and the timing was not only divine in this case, it was a visual blessing.
Something more extraordinary had happened, because while I took visual note of a person walking, I felt compelled to really register her for some reason, all very quickly as we drove by her. I am pretty sure the policeman on the phone thought I was the oddest lady he’d talked to in a while, the way I was celebrating with shouts of glee. But all I could think was how the system worked, the woman was found safely well before nightfall, and what a great gift it was!
I would be distraught had it been my own mother. So I say thanks to the Westport Police, and thanks to whatever angel came through to us today, Vision Angels who work through the sunlight and shadows on a busy street.
What a great story to warm up a chilly autumn night. Thanks, Elaine, for sharing it.
I hope I remember it the next time I receive one of those perhaps-no-longer-intrusive reverse-911 calls.