Uber Driver Takes a Look at Lonely Elderly Passenger’s Living Conditions – Decides to Give Him More Than Just a Lift
This Uber driver didn’t just give a passenger a ride, she gave him a much-needed lift in life.
When Uber driver Lauren Mulvihill picked up 89-year-old Ronald Dembner from the Veteran’s Hospital in Henry County, Georgia, she immediately sensed it wasn’t going to be a typical fare.
It was obvious that he was struggling and in bad shape. But it wasn’t until they arrived at his home that her worst suspicions were confirmed.
Expecting to be greeted by family members, she was greeted by something out of a nightmare episode of Hoarders instead. Mr. Ronald’s home was covered in a thick layer of filth and littered with trash. Piles of debris and grime plastered the counters, carpets, and walls, and the stench was overwhelming.
Widowed and previously deceased by his two sons, he had no one to assist him. Even the home care nurses had stopped coming to visit as a result of the deplorable living conditions.
He was completely alone, except for his dog, Homer, who had taken to defecating in the house.
Unable to clean up after himself or Homer but terrified of losing his home and his dog, Mr. Ronald was too afraid to reach out for help.
Mulvihill, however, was not.
Uber Driver Calls in the Troops
Horrified by what she witnessed, the single mom of two decided to take matters into her own hands. She spent hours on the phone, contacting DFCS, the fire department, adult services, the Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, and the Salvation Army.
No one could offer any help.
“Everybody said, mentally he’s fine, he’s just older. So nobody will help,” she told 11 Alive.
Finally, with all other resources exhausted, she posted a call to arms on Facebook, creating the group, Helping Mr. Ronald. She explained the situation, writing in part:
“I drove him home and he asked me to help him inside. It. Is. Appalling. The man lives alone and cannot keep up with his pets. The house is deplorable.”
She went on to explain that “the main issues are dog poop (1 dog) and general disrepair (no railing on the stairs, soiled carpet and furniture, etc)”
She knew it would take an army to make things right. Luckily, she had found one, 2000 strong. The troops rallied.
A Community Picks Up When an Elderly Veteran Cannot
Dozens of volunteers came forward armed with cleaning supplies, tools, and an overwhelming desire to make a difference.
Within a week, Mr. Ronald’s home was stripped apart and deep-cleaned from top to bottom. Volunteers removed all of the garbage, the old furniture, and the old, moldy carpet.
It was just the beginning. Help continued to pour in.
One husband/wife team provided free fencing, a veterinarian saw to Homer’s rabies shots and flea treatment, and a local caterer offered up free meals.
Additionally, numerous tradespeople spent their off-hours working for free; installing new flooring, painting the walls, and rebuilding the deck, all with donated supplies from community members and area businesses.
In addition to the structural improvements, Mulvihill also set up appointments for nurses and health care support to start coming to the home again.
“He is so thankful, he cracks me up. He keeps saying, ‘I don’t know what I did to deserve all of this from all you guys,’” said Mulvihill. “It’s giving him hope that he will be taken care of.”
When We Transform the Lives of Others, We Also Transform Our Own
While Mulvihill and her army of volunteers may have made a life-changing difference in Mr. Ronald’s world, she says it made a difference in her world as well.
“I will never forget their help, their love, for the rest of my life. I will never forget it,” she said. “We will never forget you either,” she added, talking to Mr. Ronald.
Because that’s the thing when we help each other. It’s not just about making a positive impact on someone else’s life; it’s about the profound effect it has on our own lives.
When we extend our hand to lift others up, we inadvertently lift up ourselves too.
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