87-Year-Old Rescued After 4 Days in Bathtub Thanks to Essex Waitress

Doreen Mann, an 87-year-old pensioner from Essex, was in her bathtub when she suddenly couldn’t move her legs. She tried to stand up, but her legs were not responding.

Mann lives alone and has been tending to herself for years since her husband was moved into a care home. But she found herself stranded in the tub, worried if anyone would ever come get her out.

How an Essex Waitress Realized Her Customer Was in Trouble

interior of a coffee shop
Photo by daan evers on Unsplash

Fortunately for her, someone realized something was wrong — the waitress at the café she visits regularly.

Mann became a regular at Tomassi’s in Southend when she started living alone. Sonia Congrave, a waitress at the café for 17 years, always notes when Mann comes in to get a slice of her favorite cake.

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Mann had visited the cafe like normal on her birthday for a slice of cake but didn’t visit on the Saturday like she always does. By Monday, Mann still hadn’t shown up at the café so Congrave called the police and asked them to go to her house.

She had been stranded in the bath since 9.30 a.m. on October 7 and was finally rescued on October 10.

Mann had left her patio doors unlocked and when police arrived, they could hear her calling for help and found her trapped in the bathtub.

To survive, Mann filled her tub with warm water or covered herself with her towel. She drank tap water to keep hydrated. When rescuers found her, her knees were bruised all over from attempts of getting up.

It was only thanks to Sonia notifying the police that they found me because she couldn’t get to me straight away herself. I do not know what I would do without her. It is just the fact that you have got someone to think about and you know she’s there and she is only at the end of the phone.

Doreen Mann to The Sun

How a Waitress Proved the Importance of Checking up on Others

elderly woman kissing young woman's forehead
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Mann doesn’t have any relatives nearby and said Congrave is like a daughter to her. “Right from when I first met Sonia I always nicknamed her as my adopted daughter,” Mann told The Sun.

Congrave said calling police about her loyal customer was the best decision she has ever made.

“She said she wasn’t sure she was going to make it and bruised all her knees where she tried to get out,” Congrave told The Sun. “She is a really strong woman — all she wanted afterwards was her cake and a cup of tea. She is a real character, all the staff and customers talk to her.”

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Congrave bought Mann a mobile phone in case she gets into trouble again.

And I just think it would be nice for us all to just take a bit a bit time out and remember your neighbors or remember the lady down the road you haven’t seen for a few days. Just give a knock or a phone call and just say, ‘Are you alright?’

Sonia Congrave to On Demand News

Whether it’s the grandma who never misses church on Sunday or the elderly man who enjoys a coffee at the same shop every morning, we can help protect these vulnerable citizens by paying attention and checking up on them from time to time.

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“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members” — Mahatma Gandhi

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