Monday, 16 April 2012

My Missing Dad, The Power of Social Media & A Thank You

It has been an extremely eventful, scary, exhausting and emotional weekend. My Dad went off late Saturday morning, took himself into town on the bus, and then he disappeared!!! The alarm bells were raised late afternoon, as my Dad is 83, and has health problems. The call came from my sister-in-law to say that he had been officially given the status of a missing person, and my 16 hours of anguish began. 

My first thought was to post on Facebook, that way a lot of local people could be reached in a very short time, and the response was amazing. All evening I checked back to see if anyone had posted anything about my Dad, and my whole feed was full of pictures of my Dad and reposts from people I didn't even know. Messages were received from people offering to help search, sending their love and best wishes. The community spirit was unbelievable!

Not long after whilst trying to get sorted to go out searching, waiting for people to get together to search, and the general chaos of everything, I decided to post on Twitter as well. Knowing people in the surrounding areas, I thought they may retweet me to get the message out even further. What happened was truly remarkable, my phone alert began to go off, and it continued that way until late afternoon on Sunday. I can not even to begin to imagine how many retweets there has been, even Paul Daniels, the magician retweeted to his 40k followers. There were so many well wishes I just could not reply to them all. The power of twitter unfolded before my eyes.

This all carried on in the background as we searched our local town, our worry was that the last sighting of him was walking away from town. There were a number of fields with ponds of water very close by, he is very unsteady on his feet, we feared he may have fallen somewhere. Our family is very large and we all have an extensive knowledge of the town, we managed to cover every area so quickly, but friends also came out until very late, even people who didn't know us came out to search.

The police were amazing, everywhere we went to look, they had already been. Posters were up in virtually any premises that was open to the public. The helicopter was out searching, officers were on foot searching town and surrounding fields. The liaison officers sat with Mum until 12.30am, officers were there constantly rechecking the sheltered housing that my Mum and Dad live in. they continued to search the whole time.

We searched until 3.30am, I went home a little earlier to make sure my hubby and children were okay, also to have a thorough read through Facebook and Twitter, to see if there had been any sitings, not much sleep was had! At first light myself and my niece who had stayed overnight got ourselves ready to go out searching again. I think my fear constantly coming back to me was the fields and ponds by Mum & Dad's home, I wanted to check them thoroughly in full daylight. But the fact that it had been so cold overnight with a frost was a real worry. I didn't say it out loud, but I just thought that if he had fell outside somewhere, this cold would have killed him! But thankfully, the fields were clear.

So we continued to search, as did everyone else, so many people out walking their dogs were checking where they were to see if they could find him. We headed back into town, but we were beginning to despair of where to look next. I then decided I would go home, print off some posters and go out and put them up anywhere and everywhere! Then, just as we were leaving, we got the call, he had been found and was safe and well. I just can't express the relief and happiness that we all felt. 

It was an emotional experience, that I hope none of you go through, but should it happen to you or someone you know, I can only urge you to use social media as I did, it really is a power to be reckoned with. Our thanks goes out to all the police officers involved, our local community and the Twitter community. My Dad is well, still a little shell shocked by it all, as is the family, but at least this was a happy ending.


  1. What a relief for you all. Yes Twitter is very powerful. Hope hubs has been pampering you with tea.

  2. Totally delighted that your Dad was found safe and well. What a worry. As someone who retweeted and Facebooked without knowing you but being local, it's a pleasure to do something helpful with Social Media.

  3. Thank you so much, people were amazing, complete strangers helping out, just can't thank you enough x

  4. I am so relieved that your dad was found. I couldn’t even imagine losing my own father. But if I did, I would probably do the same thing. Social media has made it so easy for people to seek and receive help. I follow important government offices on Twitter so I can easily get assistance during emergencies like this.

    Sage Aumick