This elderly man was strolling along a busy highway when a police officer stopped next to him to check if he was alright. The two began chatting and it turned out that the older man had a truly incredible story. And parts of it were heartbreaking.
James Wright is a 70-year-old man from Etowah County, Alabama, and he has a fascinating story to tell. Not only did he spend 22 years serving his country in the U.S. Army, but he is also a very loving husband to his wife, who has dementia.
Sadly, because of her dementia, Wright’s wife had to be moved into a care home. Being a loyal husband, Wright visited her regularly, especially because he was now the only person she recognized. Then, one day in May 2017 his trip to the care home was interrupted.
Wright had started up his truck to drive over to visit his wife, but unfortunately the truck broke down. Unsure of what to do, Wright knew that he had to get there somehow. The elderly couple had spoken on the phone earlier that day, in fact, and Wright had promised that he’d visit.
Speaking to Fox News in May 2017, Wright described his wife as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” So, he wanted to do everything that he could to get to her. He then decided that the best thing to do was to simply walk from his home and the care home.
He subsequently set off on the long walk along some busy main roads. That day, an off-duty lieutenant at Weaver Police Department, Charles Plitt, was out running some errands when he spotted Wright on the side of the road. The police officer thought that the elderly man looked exhausted.
A huge truck hurtled past the man and “almost knocked him over,” according to an account Plitt later posted on the Weaver Police Facebook page. As the lieutenant stopped to let Wright cross the road in front of him, Wright stopped and waved. Plitt then rolled down the window to check if the old man was alright.
But it was immediately obvious that he was not doing okay. Wright looked up at Plitt and said, “I tried, but I just can’t make it… I can’t walk no more.” The old man explained to the police officer that he’d recently had a stroke and that he was trying to reach the nursing home to see his wife.
Without hesitation, Plitt told him that he’d give him a lift to the care home. The two men began talking and learnt a bit more about each other as they made the journey a few miles up the road. Plitt could tell Wright was excited to see his wife, having been apart from her for more than a week.
Wright opened up all about his experience in the army, and Plitt was glad to listen. Things became a little emotional on the journey, in fact. Wright broke down in tears while he was telling the lieutenant all about his comrades who never returned from the war.
As Wright began to sob, all the police officer could do was try not to break down himself. When they eventually arrived at the nursing home, Wright was still in tears, so Plitt put his hand on the veteran’s hand and told him that he was glad that Wright had returned from the war safely.
Plitt added that he was sure that Wright’s wife was very glad too. Then, the veteran’s mood lifted and he wiped this tears from his face. Before getting out of the car, Wright pointed out which room was his wife’s, telling Plitt how happy she would be to see him.
As Wright got out of the car, the police officer said, “Tell your wife Lt. Plitt said hello.” And with that Wright headed towards the door of the home, thanking Plitt for the lift. In his Facebook post the day after their encounter, Plitt wrote how Wright didn’t look “feeble or defeated anymore.”
After the two men parted, Plitt couldn’t stop thinking about what happened. He was amazed by the veteran’s story. Not only was the lieutenant impressed with Wright’s army service, but he was also incredibly touched by his commitment to his sick wife.
Their encounter got Plitt thinking so much that he dedicated his Facebook post to Wright, before moving onto the subject of Memorial Day. Plitt wanted to remind everyone of the real meaning behind the holiday weekend. In his opinion, some people treat the day of remembrance as simply a free holiday.
Plitt’s intention was to encourage people to really think about what the day means. He wrote that it’s “much more, much bigger” than just a weekend to get together with friends, and he urged anyone reading his post to “reflect on this for a while.”
Pitt’s message quickly attracted a lot of attention and was shared hundreds of times. WVTM 13 News also went to meet Wright and uploaded a video of their interview to Facebook, which warmed people’s hearts.
From the comments section, it was obvious to see that the public were full of admiration for Wright. Sonja Kimberly wrote, “I don’t know this man, but I love him for his devotion and dedication to the woman he promised to love until ‘Death do us part.’ We should all be this lucky! May God bless both of them.”
Another Facebook user commented, “God love this man, thanking him for his service to our country also. Prayers for his beautiful wife, also for things to be a bit better for him.” In addition, people were thankful that Plitt was there that day to help Wright visit his wife.
Ever since the story broke, the local community have been trying to help Wright get his truck back up and running again, according to a Fox News article from May 2017. But, in the meantime, Wright has said that he will try to walk to the nursing home in order to see his wife, “the most beautiful woman in the world.”