It was a classic scenario: A young man stopped to help an elderly woman cross the street.
But what Mountain View High School teacher Antonio Murillo didn't know when he pulled his car over last Thursday was that Thelma Patton, 89, suffered from dementia and had wandered away from her assisted living facility, lost and confused.
Murillo had left for work a bit early that day when he saw Patton standing bewildered on Fremont Avenue.
"It seemed like she wanted to cross the street but she wouldn't," Murillo said, "and she looked like she was trembling. This is an older lady all by herself. I'm thinking, I'll at least ask her if she needs help to cross the street."
He parked his car, and asked if she needed help.
"And she said, 'Well, I think so.'" Murillo recalled. Once she was in the car, he realized she didn't even know where she lived. He pulled over and found an emergency bracelet on her wrist with two phone numbers. He tried the first -- no answer. The second reached the hospital.
"At that point I gave them her information and they contacted her daughter," Murillo said. "By then I had brought her to school. I figured the high school would be a much easier place for whomever to come and get her."
Mary Chavez, security liaison, waited with Patton while Murillo headed to class.
"I got there as soon as I could get dressed," said Patton's daughter, Mary Ann Welch, 67. "Sure enough, there's m
y mother, and there's Mary watching over her."
"I'm very, very, very grateful to Antonio," Welch said. "In my opinion, he's a hero and he saved my mom's life."
"He's a teacher," she added, "but he's showing you how to be in life -- and to me that is a real gift."
"It really didn't take much on my part," Murillo said. "I'd want somebody to do that for me or someone I love."