Letter: We are all better than that

On a recent Tuesday, I was on my way home from work driving down Essen toward Highland, passing Albertsons. It was 4:15 p.m. and traffic was heavy, stop and go. There was a man sitting in a wheelchair in the shade of the Albertson/Valero sign, facing Essen. His chin was touching his chest. His feet were bare and swollen, and his hair and beard were unkept.

I pulled into the Valero gas station and watched him for about 15 minutes; waiting for him to move or for someone to pick him up.

No one came and he did not move. He was unresponsive when I approached him, so I flagged down a fire truck that was pulling into the parking lot.

The firefighters roused the man who stated he had just been discharged from a hospital and was homeless. They told me, very kindly, there was nothing they could do and nothing I could do. So I drove to my comfortable home.

No one else stopped; no one else stopped to see about this man. Maybe everyone on Essen that day already knew what I still have difficulty accepting: “There was nothing we could do.”

What an incredibly sad commentary on what we have become.

I have faith that we are all better than what I saw that day.

Would you stop now?

Tammy Rivault


Baton Rouge