An act of kindness by a police officer in Victoria, B.C. ensured the safe return of a senior woman with dementia to her home in Buffalo, New York.
On Aug. 6, the 65-year-old woman was reported missing by the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Jewel of the Sea after she failed to return to the ship that evening. She had not been seen since 10 a.m.
Police officers, including Victoria Police Department K9 officer Cst. Andre Almeida, launched a search and learned from her family that the unnamed woman had recently started showing signs of dementia. The woman was found shortly after the search began by staff at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and taken to hospital for an assessment.
She was due to fly home from Seattle the next day and Almeida wanted to make sure she did not miss her flight. That is when he stepped up and took it upon himself to make sure she found her way home safely, paying for her flight from Victoria to Seattle out of his own pocket.
“There was no other way to ensure she would make it back home,” he said in a news release.
“She needed help. It could be my mom stranded somewhere and I would hope that someone would help.”
When police took the woman to the Victoria airport the next morning, officers were surprised to find that staff at Alaska Airlines wanted to reimburse Almeida for the cost of the flight.
According to police, the woman is now safely back with her family in New York.
Almeida was quick to deflect praise for his actions, saying “Alaska Airlines, the Fairmont Empress staff, the staff at Royal Jubilee Hospital, the Commissionaires, they all should be thanked for helping get an ill and scared woman back to her family.”