by Luke Voogt
A Little River man unknowingly helped return a missing 82-year-old safely home in an act of kindness on Monday morning.
Aaron Hogan spotted an elderly man walking alone with a red plastic bag on his head near Old Melbourne Rd while driving to work about 6.30am.
“At first it looked like he was wearing a Santa hat,” the 42-year-old HR manager said.
“I just saw this guy walking along the road and he looked out of place.
“But he also stood out because there was nothing in the area. There’s only two houses on that stretch between Old Melbourne Rd and the freeway.”
Little did he know the elderly gentleman was Michael Galvin, who went missing at University Hospital Geelong about 1.45pm the day before.
“He introduced himself as Mike,” he said.
“He could have just been going for a walk in the morning or – as I assumed – just had a car breakdown not too far away.
“I asked about his car and he told me it was with a friend.
“I thought it was a little bit unusual that he was alone but he seemed OK and in really good spirits. He wasn’t visibly confused, wet or upset.”
Aaron offered the man a lift and dropped him off at a Caltex service station off Princes Fwy at Werribee about 7am.
“I actually offered to drive him further into Werribee if he needed,” he said.
“As I was driving off I thought there was something a little bit off about his actions. It was playing on my mind a little bit.”
When Aaron got to work in Melbourne he discovered why, seeing social media posts about Michael going missing.
Police on Sunday night called for public assistance to find Michael, who disappeared when his wife took him to Geelong for an medical appointment.
“I became really concerned because it immediately became clear to me that he’s been out overnight,” he said.
“I didn’t know what his sleeping arrangements would have been or whether he was walking all night.
“My heart was with his family, I could imagine they’d be really concerned with him missing overnight.”
Aaron said he phoned Crime Stoppers, who suggested he speak to triple zero.
Werribee police confirmed they found the man on Wests Rd near the service station about 11.50am on Monday.
Aaron was thrilled to hear the news when the Indy phoned him late Monday afternoon.
“I’m really relieved that he’s been found safe and well,” he said.
“My only regret was that I didn’t place that phone call as soon as he was out of the car at the servo.”
Werribee police reunited Michael “with a very happy wife” at Tarneit who was “ecstatic to have the hubby home safe and well”.
Police kept his wife informed and dedicated as many resources as they could to find him after receiving the emergency call on Monday morning, they said.
But how the 82-year-old man got from Geelong’s hospital to Little River remains a mystery, with police telling the Indy he had little recollection of the journey.