A woman in Belfast has illustrated the power of Twitter by using the social network to find her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, after she had been missing for more than nine hours.
Diane Blayney left her home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at 9am on Wednesday to walk her dogs. When she didn’t return shortly, her family began to worry. Diane’s daughter, Joanne Mehaffey, who was travelling at the time and did not have a consistent phone signal, reached to Twitter for help, posting this tweet.
— Joanne Mehaffy (@jomehaffy) April 3, 2013
The message was retweeted hundreds of times – crucially, it was spotted by Christina McStravick.
“I was sitting about six o’clock in the living room, watching TV, and I noticed a woman walking past the window with two dogs,” said Christina. “She seemed a wee bit dazed and kind of caught my attention but I didn’t think anything of it. Literally, 30 seconds later I was on Twitter. I saw that Oscar (Knox) had retweeted Joanne’s post. I jumped in the car, drove round and drove slowly past Diane. I didn’t want to scare her but I realised it was her.”
After inviting Diana into her house, Christina’s husband phoned Joanne and the police.
“My husband gives me a hard time for going on Twitter too much, so he can’t do that anymore,” Christina said.
Joanne was overwhelmed by the response.
“I knew that Twitter was a powerful tool. I just needed one person to see her and that’s what happened. My mother had walked about eight miles. We would never have thought she was there.
“My husband says he’s a Twitter widow, but Twitter and the kindness of strangers brought my mum home,” said Joanne.