Alert store clerk spots missing couple

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 28 at 11:10 PM

TACOMA - A missing elderly couple could still be lost if they hadn’t walked into the gas station where Susan McConnell works.

Thankfully, the alert clerk at the Chevron/Pink Elephant Car wash in Tacoma didn’t just mind her own business. She had heard about the couple missing after they drove away from their family care facility in Normandy Park. She read that they were both diagnosed with dementia, and she knew the couple’s family and police were worried and searching everywhere for them. So it didn’t take her long to take action Thursday morning when the couple showed up at her store.

“The woman came in and asked to use the bathroom,” said McConnell, who explained it wasn’t open until later in the morning.

McConnell watched as the woman got in the car with her husband and drove off.

When the woman returned a short time later and asked again to use the bathroom, McConnell recognized the tell tale signs of dementia.

“My father has it,” said McConnell.

So she invited the couple in for a seat at a table with some hot coffee and called 911.

"The 911 officer said, 'That's our couple.' And I mean I started shaking, I had goose bumps, oh yeah, it was wonderful," said McConnell.

Officers arrived, along with the couple’s family.

"When the family showed up, the daughter came up and she thanked me and she was crying and said they had had the worst 12 hours," said McConnell.

A potential tragedy ended in a happy reunion in a car wash waiting room. McConnell said it was a holiday gift for her to help make that happen.
 

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