TikTok Trending: Illinois couple helps lost 80 year old on his way from Arizona to Wisconsin

The man was on his way to see his son for the first time in 19 years and became lost several times on his drive.
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 11:47 AM CDT
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NEW WINDSOR, Ill. (KWQC) - An Illinois couple helped an 80-year-old man after he became lost on his way to see his son from Arizona to Wisconsin and now their video is gaining popularity on TikTok.

While stopped at a gas station in Woodhull, Ill. next to Interstate 74, Elton Hood struck a conversation with 80-year-old Dennis.

“He was walking through there with a piece of paper in his hands and he had directions and I just said hi to him, asked him how his day was and he said well I’m lost again. And I thought again?” Hood said.

Hood soon learned Dennis was on his way to see his son for the first time in 19 years. Several times on his week-long journey, Dennis became lost, sometimes going hundreds of miles in the wrong direction. Wanting to make sure he arrived safely, Hood wrote out new directions and his phone number in case Dennis had any more issues.

“I told him well let’s get you a new piece of paper and we’ll write the instructions back out for you. Then I realized he was in a 2020 Toyota Tundra and I thought maybe it has navigation in it,” Hood said.

It did, so Hood programmed the truck and Dennis was on his way.

Hood’s fiance, Tracy Eckhardt from New Windsor, Ill. documented the interaction for the social media app TikTok and when the couple received a call shortly later from Dennis, who was lost again, Eckhardt kept recording.

“I looked at Tracy and asked her if she was ready to make a trip to Wisconsin. She shrugged her shoulders and said whatever it is you feel like we need to do, let’s do it,” Hood said.

Eckhardt said she recorded the journey because she wanted to show Hood how kind his heart is and how she views him.

“I wanted to capture a lot of it so I could make that and show him how it looks to the outside world. How everybody else sees it when you do things like this. And how inspiring it can be to other people,” Eckhardt said.

The video caught on quick. Garnering 3.8 million views and thousands of comments -- and counting.

“I was like how did this happen? I just posted it a couple hours ago... set my phone down and picked it back up and everything has changed,” Eckhardt said.

The couple made that trip to Madison, Wisc. with Dennis following in his truck. They were able to reunited the father with his son.

During his time in Wisconsin, Dennis and his family has stayed in contact with the couple. When they learned he would be driving back to Arizona, the couple offered to drive back with him.

“We started this and we feel like we need to see it through. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to make sure Dennis makes it to Arizona in one piece and then we’re not sure how we’re going to get back but we’ll figure it out after we get there,” Hood said.

The three left Wednesday morning meeting at the same truck stop where it all started.

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.

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