This UPS Driver Saved A Wandering Alzheimer’s Patient

What can brown do for you? Well, track down and monitor a wandering Alzheimer’s patient, for starters.

Raleigh police were looking for an elderly man with Alzheimer’s, but it was a delivery man who ultimately found him. We talked with the UPS driver who found the old gentleman and kept him company until police showed up to take him home.

Lifelong Raleigh, N.C. resident and 25-year UPS veteran Kenneth Donleycott was driving his route a few weeks ago when a police officer pulled up and asked him if he’d seen an elderly man walking a white dog. The man had been reported missing from his home.

In a smooth North Carolina twang, Donleycott — who, in addition to driving a delivery truck, also serves as the co-chair of the safety committee at UPS’s Raleigh office — related his story.

“I hadn’t seen him, but on my way out, I saw a lot of police canvassing the neighborhood. Not too much later, I saw an older guy walking his dog and figured it was him.The first thing I noticed that wasn’t right was that he had a bunch of rocks stuffed into both of his pockets. I asked him where he was going and he pointed in a direction that was different than the direction he was going.So I asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a retired marine. I told him my father-in-law was a retired marine and he started talking. What he said was kind of garbled and he seemed confused. So I called 911.”

Donleycott said that the police arrived within 15 minutes of his call, and that the man, who they said has Alzheimer’s and a propensity toward heat stroke, had wandered pretty far from home.

“It was really hot outside. The dog looked pretty worn out, but the man looked fine to me. He was in good shape and dressed real sharp — I’d expected someone much older, but he looked to be in his early 60s. He’d covered a lot more ground than even the police thought.”

Raleigh police had considered calling a “silver alert” — the code for a lost elderly person — when Donleycott called in to report that he had found the man. They called Donleycott later in the day to confirm that the man had been reunited with his family.

UPS wasted no time posting Donleycott’s picture and a synopsis of the story on the company’s Facebook page, quickly racking up 5,490 comments, 6,616 shares, and 217,680 likes. Most of the comments are positive, but Donleycott said that a few accused UPS of staging a publicity stunt.

“There were too many comments for me to respond to a lot of them, but this was real, not a publicity stunt. It really did happen. But I think credit should go to the officer who told me [the man was lost]. If he hadn’t told me, I would have driven right past the guy.”