Sanitation worker rescues missing elderly woman

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 7:00 PM CST
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CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. (KAIT) - A heroic deed is being widely recognized after a Blytheville Waste Pro sanitation worker saved an elderly woman with dementia.

Macario Chism said he found 82-year-old Thelma Bates in freezing temperatures Thursday, Jan. 20, on his route in Caruthersville between East 18th Street and East 19th Street.

“When I was riding, I noticed there was a shop building,” Chism said, “The door swung open then it shut.”

With only minutes to spare, Chism rushed to put his coat around her and placed Bates in the truck to keep her warm until help came.

Chism felt proud to save the missing woman, saying he thought of his late grandmother when he saw Bates.

Caruthersville Police Chief Tony Jones said Bates was reported missing around 4 a.m. that same morning, meaning she was in freezing temperatures as low as 17 degrees for several hours.

“We didn’t expect her to survive this kind of weather,” Chief Jones said.

Chief Jones mentioned Bates is currently getting treated at a nearby hospital for “frostbite on her feet” and some cuts.

Caruthersville Code Enforcement Officer Barry Gilmore said he alerted Chism to be on the lookout for the missing woman. He feels that Chism’s act deserves all the praise.

“Macario could’ve been driving his route and minding his own business and picking up the trash and clocking out and going home but that’s not what he did,” Gilmore said.

Chism said this day has taught him a lesson about paying attention to every detail on his route because he never knows when someone may need help.

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