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“I Was Worried Sick.” Family Thanks Sanitation Worker Who Saved Missing Grandma With Dementia. “If It Were Not For Cario, We Would Be Putting Flowers On My Mother’s Grave.”

two-photo collage. on the left there is a portrait of thelma bates. on the right there is a picture of Macario "Cario" Chism with Thelma.

The moment he heard the Silver Alert, Macario “Cario” Chism was determined to find the grandmother who’d gone missing at around 3 a.m. the night before.

It was early in the morning, and the temperature in Caruthersville, Missouri was just 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Cario works as a sanitation worker for Waste Pro USA. He was on his rounds when he stopped into a convenience store and learned that 82-year-old Thelma Bates was missing.

Thelma suffers from dementia. She’d wandered out of her home in the wee hours and was completely unprepared for cold weather. She wasn’t even wearing shoes!

“I was worried sick,” said Thelma’s oldest daughter, Marian Bates.

Cario felt strongly that he needed to find Thelma. He’d felt helpless when he lost his own grandmother, so he felt compelled to make sure this stranger made it home to her own family. He ran out of the store and hopped in his truck, joining the community search party of first responders and everyday citizens in the rescue mission.

As he drove through the familiar streets, Cario kept his eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. It didn’t take long before he spotted it: The door to a work shed swinging open in the wind. Inside, he caught a glimpse of Thelma on the floor of the shed.

Leaping from his truck, Cario rushed to Thelma’s side and scooped her up in his arms. His truck’s security camera captured the moment when he gently placed her inside the cab, arranging her so she could lie down on the seat. Then, he covered up her frozen feet before honking his horn to get the attention of the search and rescue team.

Thelma was taken to the hospital and checked out. Incredibly, she was unharmed after spending several hours out in the freezing cold!

“Blood pressure was fine,” said her daughter, Renee Bates. “Vital signs were fine. There was nothing wrong with her.”

Those involved say her condition is nothing short of a miracle, and none of it would be possible without Cario!

A few weeks after the rescue, Cario was surprised by a local news channel who presented him with $408 as part of their Gr8 Acts of Kindness campaign. He was able to meet Thelma and her grateful family, too. Renee said they can’t thank him enough for making the effort to find their loved one, and for caring for her so tenderly until help arrived.

“If it were not for Cario, we would be putting flowers on my mother’s grave today… if it wasn’t for Cario,” Renee said.

Everyone has the potential to be a hero! Cario knew in his heart that he could find Thelma, so he made it happen. We’re so glad this story has a happy ending!

Share this story to thank Cario for going the extra mile to help a lost grandma.

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