After receiving multiple phone calls about a suspicious vehicle in Social Circle, Social Circle Lieutenant Randy Downs found an elderly couple lost on their way to their Florida home.
Lynn Lehman said her parents, Del and Sally Lettenberger were on their way to celebrate their wedding anniversary with their friends when they lost their way. They left their Clermont, Fla. home Sunday, Oct. 30 around 11 when Sally got confused and turned around. She kept driving until they were stopped in Social Circle by the police around 11 a.m. Monday morning. They were approximately 400 miles away from their Florida home.
Downs reached out to the couple’s family, who live in the Chicago area of Illinois, and they were on a plane and on their way. In the meantime, Downs moved the couple’s vehicle to the Social Circle Police Department (SCPD) and took them to the Hampton Inn in Covington.
“He stayed up the whole night, checking on the hotel, having officers patrol the area and checking on the couple,” Oliver said. “The next morning, on his way to work, he stopped by the hotel to check on the couple. While in the lobby, a gentleman asked about the Social Circle Police Department and it turns out he was the son of the couple.”
Downs also had EMS check on the couple before having them spend the night, since they had not planned on spending the night anywhere when they left their home.
“He took the extra mile; he took the extra step,” Oliver said.
The employees of the Hampton Inn also provided them with clean clothes for their stay.
“My mom assured me that she didn't encounter any other police officers on her journey to go to their anniversary lunch,” Lehman said. “She cannot recall the entire journey in detail but she was sure she was only minutes away from her destination for lunch.
“Thankfully she was met in Social Circle by a fantastic police community - who went out of their way to ensure her and my dad's safety and wellbeing. The police officers in direct contact with my parents were compassionate and patient as they worked through options to keep them safe until my family could meet them in Covington.”
Downs started working with the SCPD in March of this year. Prior to working for SCPD, Downs worked for the Newton County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years.
Since the encounter, Oliver said he has received several emails, phone calls and cards from the couple’s family. One of the cards calls Downs “one of America’s finest,” with a “kind hand and big heart,” Oliver said.
“We are sincerely thankful for the blessing of bumping into the Social Circle police,” Lehman said. “At this time of the year, I pause to give thanks for everything I have, including my parents who are now safely home in Illinois.
“I'm forever grateful for Southern hospitality and kind helping hands.”
Downs is the second in command for the SCPD.
“I’m very fortunate to have him as part of my team and Social Circle is fortunate to have him as part of the community,” Oliver said.
Downs is set to receive a special commendation for his act of kindness towards the lost couple.