Rebecca Guizar encountered an unfolding situation she just couldn’t ignore as she traveled on a Big Rapids-area roadway Sunday afternoon, July 8.
“I was coming from a care facility where my sister lives,” Guizar said. “An elderly woman was driving her car, slowly, alongside a man walking on the edge of the road. I could see there was a struggle where the man was not willing to change his mind.”
Guizar is a cook at The Rock Cafe on Ferris State University’s Big Rapids campus. She had moved to Big Rapids in the last couple of years. Since that move, she has brought two of her sisters to the area. Before arriving in Mecosta County, Guizar was on the staff of a retirement center in Hamburg, near Brighton in Livingston County.
“I gained experience in dealing with patients, there. Some suffered from various forms of dementia,” Guizar said. “I pulled my car up next to the woman’s and asked, ‘Is everything OK?’ She told me it was not going well, that her husband has Alzheimer’s and had run away. I offered to help, and she said ‘Please do.’”
Guizar learned the man intended to get a driver’s license at the police station to resume the travels he hoped to make. She decided she would try and help the couple, to get him to a safer place.
“Since he wouldn’t get in a car with his wife, I offered to take him to the station,” Guizar said. “I understand the struggle of losing one’s independence based on my experiences at the retirement center. We parked, and I tried to calm him down through conversation. It turned out that he had been a member of the administration at Ferris before his retirement, and was happy to recall his days with the university. He said, ‘They treated me nice, there.’”
Guizar took the initiative to tell the man that, as an Alzheimer’s patient, driving was not a good idea for him. She struck a bargain with the couple, whereby she would drive the man back to their home, with his wife in the lead.
“We were able to work through a couple more rough spots, and eventually got him to accept the situation, calm down and enjoy some ice cream,” Guizar said. “I really felt for his wife, as she looked very drained. We have exchanged phone numbers, and I plan to help them as they prepare to sell their home and relocate.”
The couple’s situation has normalized some, based on Guizar’s most recent visit on Tuesday, July 17.
“I told them that I would come by so we could have some ice cream and talk,” Guizar said. “He has promised not to run away again. They are very excited to be making their move to a new home, but there’s a lot of work to do. I wish others would open their hearts, step in to help their families, friends and neighbors when they need it.”
Guizar said she learned her life principles from her parents, a couple who came to Michigan from Mexico and raised 13 children all the while keeping a focus on making their community a better place.
“I wouldn’t ask other people to do anything that I am not willing to do myself,” Guizar
said. “I love working at The Rock because it keeps me close to children, the elderly
and cooking. These are my passions.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Rebecca Guizar is a cook at The Rock Cafe on the Ferris State University campus. She moved to Big Rapids in the last couple of years, and since that time, she has brought two of her sisters to the area.