Story from Rueters:
Woman Missing Eight Years Is Home for Christmas
Dec 9, 10:23 am ET, By Pat Harris
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - A woman who had been wandering the streets for eight years was headed home for a Christmas reunion with her family because she remembered she once had invested in the stock market.
When a bedraggled Alice Perley wandered into the brokerage firm of A.G. Edwards & Sons in
Nashville earlier this week the first person she met by the elevator was Michael Guess.
“I could tell she was homeless,” Guess, a financial analyst with the firm, told Reuters on Friday.
“It was obvious she needed help.”
When the woman told him she thought she had some money invested with the firm, Guess was
skeptical but “we need to help people regardless and I wasn’t going to walk away from her.” So
the 44-year-old Guess invited the woman into his office and listened to her story.
“She was vague about everything except that she remembered the name of our firm and felt
that somehow she had money with us,” said Guess.
Guess said he and another broker took some cash from their own pockets to give her but she
refused, insisting she had money in an account.
“I knew something was going on then,” Guess said. “So I put through a call to our company’s
office in Atlanta and asked them to check on it.”
A few minutes later he had confirmation that Perley was a client – and that she had been
missing for eight years despite exhaustive search efforts by her family.
Guess said it appeared that Perley, a college graduate with a chemistry degree, property and
other investments, had disappeared from her home in Kentucky after a painful divorce. She left a
commercial flight during a stopover at Nashville’s airport and lived in the woods, on the streets
and in shelters in the intervening years.
The firm refused to say what her investment amounted to or to characterize it in any way,
citing customer confidentiality.
While Guess was still on the phone with the Edwards office in Atlanta, the woman’s brother, Fred
Perley of Charlotte, N.C., called and talked to her.
“She was happy – really very happy when she heard her brother’s voice,” Guess said. “It was
obvious she was ready to come home. At that point, I left the office to give them privacy but I
don’t mind saying I felt a real glow myself.”
The brother came to Nashville Friday to take the woman home. Said Guess:
“Well, that’s what Christmas is really all about, isn’t it? We’re not supposed to judge others.
We’re supposed to remember to help one another and not just walk on by – aren’t we?”