Uber Driver Changes 89-Year-Old Veteran’s Life After Discovering His “Appalling” Living Conditions
After bringing Mr. Ronald home from the hospital, Lauren Mulvihill became determined to save the veteran from a life of squalor.
Last week, Uber driver Lauren Mulvihill got a call to pick up an 89-year-old veteran named Ronald Dembner who had just been discharged from the hospital. When she arrived at the senior’s home in Stockbridge, Georgia, she was shocked to find that there were no family members or caregivers waiting for him.
Helping Dembner into his home, Mulvihill said she was appalled by what she saw. The house was filthy. There was mold in the bathrooms, no railing on the stairs, the rugs were soiled, and there were piles of dog feces on the floor.
Dembner explained that he lived alone with his dog because his wife and two sons had passed away. He said he was terrified to ask for help for fear of losing his home and his dog Homer. Though he’s of sound mind, old age has made it increasingly hard for him to get around.
Mulvihill told 11Alive that she spent hours on the phone the day she dropped him off, trying to find someone who could help him. But nobody could.
"Everybody said, mentally he's fine, he's just older,” she recalled. “So, nobody will help.”
Determined to save the veteran from a life of squalor, Mulvihill started cleaning up herself. She put on a pair of gloves on and cleaned his kitchen and bathrooms, but there was only so much she could do.
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“I have been back and tried to clean up, but I am a single parent and my kids cannot stay inside the home,” she wrote. “Mr. Ronald is open and willing to have someone help, but he cannot pay and again is scared to death that they will make him leave his home.”
Since creating the group a little more than a week ago, over 800 members have joined in to help clean the house, make repairs, stock the refrigerator, feed the volunteers, and take care of Homer.
Even with all that work, Dembner told 11Alive that he's most thankful for their time.
"Friendship; to be together with people who care—genuinely care for another person's concern. That's what I was most thankful for," he said. "The things that are happening are so profound and being done so quickly and efficiently, I just don't have the words to explain how grateful I am, how thankful I am. God bless them all for what they've done."
Mulvihill is thankful too.
"Every day, I am so thankful that these people who give so much of themselves are willing to come and help an otherwise perfect stranger in their time of need," Mulvihill told 11Alive. "I will never forget their help, their love, for the rest of my life. I will never forget it.”
Looking to help Mr. Ronald? There’s still plenty to do. Visit "Helping Mr. Ronald" on Facebook to learn more.