Naysayers may scoff at Pokemon Go, but now they have a reason to set aside their cynicism for the digital cuddly monster game. The popular app brought Homer Howard, an 83-year-old man suffering from dementia, back to his family.
According to Cincinnati News, Allison Hines made her daily routine stop at Pokestop – one of several physical free-item drop locations outside the digital realm of Pokemon where avid players can enhance their experience and collect gaming supplies. She found a lot more than expected.
Pokestops are located in various locations in cultural points of interest near landmark buildings or statues. Hines happened to be at such a spot in Kenney Shields Park in Covington, Kentucky, on Friday morning.
Every day I have to go and get my silly Pokestop. Every day, I go on this little loop.
She noticed Howard, alone, looking distraught and waving a Navy hat. Hines, being a Navy veteran herself smiled back and thought it was odd when her warm expression wasn't reciprocated.
As I turned the corner, everything in my being said, 'Stop, turn this car around and go check on him.
She approached the man and asked if he was okay; but instead of directly responding to her, Howard commented how he was getting older and that he was waiting on his wife to pick him up.
It turns out Howard had been missing from his home in Maineville, Ohio, and had no idea he wound up 30-miles south in Kentucky.
How he managed to travel that far south is unclear.
All that his daughters Tammy Richardson and Tonya Geringer could do was pray for Howards safety after their father went missing 24 ealier.
"Lots of thoughts went through my mind. I just had to stop them. I just had to keep hoping, praying and waiting until we heard from him," Richardson said.
Luckily, Hines contacted them and drove their father back home Friday evening and hopes to take him to dinner someday.
The story resonated well with people.
And gamers were curious about any rewards, if any, were given.
"I'm very grateful for Pokemon Go," she said. "My goodness. What I loved about it is, when I played its it got me out in the community. It was a social game. Today, it saved a man's life."
If Pokestops are meant to up someone's gaming skills, then Hines has become the ultimate Pokemon master.
This person was surprised people still played Pokemon Go. And it's a blessing that it was game on for Hines.
Pokemon Go is not going away. That could be a good thing, right?