Christine Becker, Nancy Cash, Eve Georgiou, Thea Miles and Elizabeth Spargar – hairstylists at Ruffles of London Salon in the Glenmont Shopping Center in Wheaton, Maryland – had the courage and compassion to act on behalf of a client and for the good of society. In 2010, these women stepped in to save their elderly customer from losing her home and savings to an unscrupulous conman.

This rescue was possible because the Ruffles stylists really listened to their customer’s conversation during her weekly hair appointments. When the customer “confessed” that she and her husband had gotten lost trying to get home in their car one night and been helped by “a very nice young man,” Christine, her main stylist, was cheered by the possibility of the kindness of a stranger to her customer.

But over the next several months the stylists, while wanting to respect their customer’s autonomy, monitored events and pieced together a picture of what was happening. After the woman’s husband went to a nursing home, the man assumed increasing control of the woman’s life and the Ruffles stylists realized that they were their customer’s last line of defense – she had no family and the man was isolating her from friends. When the customer revealed she had given this man power of attorney and that he wanted to be placed on the deed to her house, the stylists collectively agreed that they had to intervene. They called County authorities, setting in motion a chain of events that led to the man’s arrest. A court-appointed lawyer estimated that the man had taken about $180,000. Only the intervention of the stylists stopped him from getting away with more.

These Unsung Heroines not only helped their customer, they stopped a conman from preying on the elderly and sparked a news story calling attention to an increasing problem in the County and the nation as the population ages.

Submitted by: Jill Brantley, Montgomery County NOW