- A 79-year-old man who wanted to see his son got lost on his journey from Arizona to Wisconsin and was helped by a couple he met at a gas station.
- The couple ended up driving with him to Wisconsin and back again to Arizona.
- The journey was chronicled on Tiktok with the hashtag #DrivingMrDennis and got positive feedbacks
Dennis Millentz, 79, was travelling from Heber-Overgaard, Arizona to Fremont, Wisconsin to see his son when he lost his way. Fortunately, Tracy Eckhardt and Elton Hood met him at an Illinois gas station and helped him find his way.
A marine veteran, Millentz not only got lost while following written instructions, he even added 200 miles to his original mileage.
As Millentz told NBC affiliate, WMTV, “It was really hectic. I fought to keep conscious so that I wouldn’t get into an accident.”
The Illinois couple wrote another set of directions, gave Millentz their number, kept updated thru phone calls, and even programmed the address on GPS. Still, 15 minutes after, Millentz got lost. The couple had no other thought in mind but to drive to where Millentz is and drive all the way with him to Wisconsin.
Eckhardt says, “We had kind of already said that that could be anybody’s parent or anybody’s grandparent. There are so many people who have parents that will go do these things and they end up lost, or they meet somebody not so nice that takes advantage of them. And that just wasn’t going to be an option for us to hear down the road that he was missing and know that at one point we had the opportunity to turn it around and get him there safely.”
“We would have felt guilty forever if something like that would’ve happened. So when he called, it was pretty instantaneous. Here we go!”, she added.
Tiktok became the venue for the group’s journey and blooming friendship with the hashtag #DrivingMrDennis.
Once in Wisconsin, unavoidable circumstances prevented Millentz’ family from driving him back home to Illinois, so the couple once again came to the rescue.
Eckhardt says, “If you start something, you finish it. So we started it by getting him to his son and it was the right thing to do to finish getting him home. So he called me and instead of saying, ‘Are you ready to go to Wisconsin?’ he said, ‘Are you ready to go to Arizona?'”
So they travelled the 1,664-mile trip back to Arizona in 27 hours only stopping for stretches, meals, and coffee. Meanwhile, the Tiktok posts did not go unnoticed. A plane ticket from another good Samaritan was waiting for them so they would not have to make the long journey to Illinois by land.
Eckhardt says, “We’re normal people. Alone, we’re not exceptional. But together, people can do exceptional things… 2020 hasn’t been a good year for most of us. You kind of forget the good parts of the world and your neighbors and your communities. And I feel like we kind of brought that to light and that’s been the best feeling of all.”
She says, “We want to continue to do good and help others. And there’s no stopping them.