Couple helps elderly man lost on his way from Arizona to Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. — When Elton Hood encountered an elderly man named Dennis at a gas station in Illinois, he knew he needed help.

Dennis told Elton he was “lost again,” trying to make sense of the directions from Arizona to his son’s house in Fremont, Wisconsin he had written down on a piece of paper. He was hours away without knowing where he was, or where he was going.

So Elton pulled up Google Maps and gave Dennis a new set of directions based on where they were. He also programmed the GPS in Dennis’ newer truck to give him turn-by-turn directions where he needed to go. And he gave him a card with his name and number on it and told him to give him a call if he got lost again.

About 15 minutes later, Elton got a call from an Arizona number.

Dennis got confused by the GPS and ended up heading in the wrong direction again. He needed help.

Elton and his fiancee, Tracy Eckhardt, turned around and drove for about 40 minutes before they found Dennis. They got in contact with his son and decided to drop their plans of heading to Peoria to drive almost 3 hours out of their way to take Dennis to meet his son in Madison, about halfway from Fremont and where they were in Illinois.

Tracy recorded everything on her phone and put the story on TikTok. It went viral, collecting more than 3.7 million views and generating thousands of comments from people thanking them for making their day with the story of kindness.

@un_trace_ableI got a good one….his ❤️ amazes me. ##fyp ##foryoupage ##stillgoodintheworld ##elderly ##elderlylove ##armyvet ##dontletthisflop ##bethelight ##marinevet♬ If The World Was Ending – JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels

“I’ve had some people say I’ve had a really bad day or a really bad week, or it’s been a really bad year, and this is what I needed to see, this gives me hope and it’s lights in the darkness,” said Elton, a Marine veteran who says he knows how much people need positivity right now.

Tracy said she was determined to respond to every comment, but she wasn’t able to keep up. She says she knows the story resonates with a lot of people.

“We all have parents, we all have grandparents,” said Tracy on the reaction to their story. “Having a parent be lost and nobody help them if they’re older, I think that’s a legitimate fear for a lot of people right now. You see not-so-heartwarming stories all the time, you see the missing people reports all the time, and those are things that are really concerning for people.”

“There’s been so much negativitiy especially in the recent months, that I think it’s just that one little ray of hope,” Elton added.

The couple says they didn’t expect any attention for what they did, and it’s something they would’ve done regardless of whether anyone noticed or not.

The story doesn’t end with that one act of kindness, though — due to other circumstances, Dennis’ son isn’t able to personally make sure his elderly father makes it back home to Arizona safely.

“Once I found that out, I called Tracy and said, ‘well we should probably start packing bags,'” Elton said.

Elton and Tracy say they’re going to meet Dennis at the same gas station where they first met and start driving him out to Arizona themselves on Wednesday.

“We really decided we needed to stay in touch and see this through from beginning to end,” said Elton.