Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction, and not without reason. There is no limit to the bizarre events that occur daily and each one of them is capable of surprising you. Bearing testimony to this, a 83-year-old woman recently lost her way and drove for 300 miles (around 480km) to Scotland instead of 6 miles (around 10km) to her local hospital appointment.
According to a report in The Independent, Valerie Johnson was driving to Peopleton’s Royal Hospital in Worcester, just 6 miles from her home, but roadworks diverted her and she ended up driving for 8 hours. Johnson had missed a turn-off near Worcester and had continued north on the M5 and M6 until she had crossed the border. Her long journey finally ended in Larkhall, Scotland, where she ran out of fuel.
While she was busy driving, oblivious to the mistake she had made, her prolonged absence terribly worried her family. Her 49-year-old daughter Karen Maskell had called the police, and reported her missing on May 5. After locating her, Maskell took a flight to Scotland to pick up her mother. It was a couple who looked after Johnson while she waited for her daughter to come.
Recollecting the incident for The Independent reporter, Maskell said, “Mum’s next-door neighbour called me to say she hadn’t come back and he was worried. I thought she must have had an accident.”
“We called the police and by the time I got to her house, they said they had spotted her car on a traffic camera at Preston at 11pm. I said it couldn’t be my mum because she hates driving, she doesn’t usually drive more than three miles,” she added. “But it was her and she was still heading north and we had to get the Scottish police involved.”
Police in Larkhall said the couple who took care of her, noticed Johnson after her car stopped in the middle of the road outside their home. Johnson told them she was lost, which led them to contact the police. Later they co-ordinated with West Mercia Police and informed Johnson’s family. An ambulance was also called to check if she needed any medical attention.
“The local couple very kindly looked after the woman, ensuring that she was comfortable until her relatives arrived from England to collect her,” said Sergeant John McLeish