Tara Murphy was driving down the road when she passed a little old woman walking in the middle of the street. At first, she drove by…but something just didn’t feel quite right. She turned around and decided to document the incident and call 911. They told her that she was not the first person to call it in, and that the woman had been telling people she was “going to the store.” That was worrying because Tara knew that there were no stores for miles in that directions.
Eventually, the woman walked near enough for her to speak. The woman told her what she’d told everyone else, but Tara decided to dig a bit further.
I asked her what store exactly. She said the bank and to the store, I asked her where the store was, she said “Hedgesville.”
I was stunned- Hedgesville is 10 mins driving from where we were talking. She leaned on my window and I asked her why she was walking. She went on to tell me she is from Hedgesville, her son died and they moved her to Martinsburg too far from anything she knew. Tears came to her eyes and she explained, “so I am walking.”
Tara offered her a ride and said that she would take her anywhere that she needed to go and make sure that she ended up home safely.
Her name is Isabelle, she is 93 years old and a full-blooded Indian. As we drove she pointed out the mountain she was born on, told me of the very roads we were driving were once dirt and she’d walk them when she was young. She spoke of her 5 husbands, her first being wed to her when she was just 13 years old. She told me stories of Pearl Harbor and the Hindenburg. She was amazing, full of life and laughter.
I took her to the Food Lion she wished to go to, before she walked in and I told her I’d be waiting. When she came out she only had a single bag with a container of instant coffee, saw me and smiled. She got back in and laughed and asked me if I knew where she was going because she didn’t. I laughed back and told her I would take her home, she looked at me and asked, “do you know where I live?”
“Let’s just drive around until you can remember where to go.” I said.
Again she told me stories of her family, and how they “kept it in he family” and of her children, she was such a sweet lady.
She continued to tell me stories of the buildings and land, of what all that came and went. She pointed out where the hospital now used to be the orchard she worked at when she was 12 and how they worked, of how her first love was the farm hand but was forbidden to love a “red girl.”
I finally got her home and she looked at me and thanked me. I gave her a card with my name and number and told her that anytime she needed a ride to please call me. She again looked at me confused and said “I don’t know where you came from, but thank you.”
I probably will never hear from Isabelle, potentially will never see her again. But she gave me one of the most incredible mini adventures by allowing me to travel back in time to experience the stories of her life. I hope Isabelle is okay, that she knows she is incredible and touched my life today.
Let this be a lesson for anyone who has a gut instinct to reach out and help a stranger.”
Many people were touched by this story and the kindness showed to Isabelle. It didn’t cost very much to help her, and in the long run, her actions have inspired others to reach out in their own communities and do the same.
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