The large man crawled slowly out from under the bush where he’d been sheltering from the mid morning sun. As he emerged with considerable difficulty, using a crutch to support his weight, his swollen and bruised face became visible under a bloody bandage wrapped around his head.
The man was in his early 60s and was traveling with two men and a woman who all appeared to be in their early 20s. They had come up to me and asked me to help their friend. They said they’d all come from a small town in Louisiana to spend Labor Day weekend in Galveston. The man had driven them and they’d been staying at a small motel while enjoying the sights and the beach.
On Tuesday morning very early, the man had gone out to stretch his legs while the younger crew slept. It was not unusual for him to be woken up by the pain caused by injuries sustained in the Marine Corps years ago. He was walking to the store to get a coffee when a young man approached him asking if he’d help his grandmother with something in the neighboring apartment complex. The man, being from a small town, took the request at face value and followed the young guy around a corner where two other guys rolled him. They took his car keys, wallet and even tried to take his pants off. When he resisted they beat him with a club and kicked him until he was unconscious.
Fortunately, someone saw it and called 911. The EMS came and took him to the hospital where they patched him up and the police took a report. He somehow made it back to where his friends were but no one had any money. They left the hotel and went to a bank to try to get some help. He wanted to transfer money from his account in Louisiana so he could get a key made for his truck, buy food and gas, and get back home. He said the bank told him he needed an account or they couldn’t help him. He asked for a ride to the grocery store.
On the way to the store I gave him some money so he and his friends could eat and asked if he had any ID. Having none and thinking that they’d need it , I asked if he had a contact for his bank back home. He had the number so I let him use my phone. We ended up getting his bank to talk to our local Bank of America branch directly. They couldn’t have been nicer. I left him well on the way to receiving money with the bank staff being courteous and professional despite his rough appearance.
You never know where you will (or won’t) get help when you most need it, but many thanks to the staff at the Bank of America for doing what they could to make this horrible experience right for one of our guests.