“I called out from the kitchen, ‘Sam, Sam, I need help. This is Esther.’” But she was too far from the door for Gregory to hear, and he moved on.
Later that day, Wilkins began struggling with thirst and hunger. “I didn’t have a drink of water or a bite of food for the whole time I was on the floor,” she said.
She became delirious, she said, and saw the black-and-white photos on her wall appear in color and begin to move. Her lips were so parched, she said, she could easily peel off the skin.
Wilkins said she realized Gregory was her only chance. So, early Saturday, she shuffled toward the door and waited for the sound of the storm door.
Sure enough, at around 5 a.m., he arrived with the paper.
Gregory, 27, said he suspected something was amiss when he noticed Wilkins hadn’t gotten her papers for two days. Then he heard her calling out his name.
“Once she knew she had my attention, she really started shouting," said Gregory.
Wilkins shouted to Gregory the combination to a lock box outside her house, where she kept a spare key. He opened the door to find her on the floor. He got her a glass of water, then called for help.
“That was the sweetest glass of water I’ve ever tasted,” she said. “It was so, so good.”
Doctors told Esther she was severely dehydrated. She might have died later that day had she not been found.
“I don’t think I’d still be here if Sam hadn’t found me,” she said.
Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo, Ind., Tribune.