Nobody even knew he was there until after he died. He was one of the “invisible ones” that we choose to see through — as though they had no substance. The homeless communities ranging from the Floralita to Scoville were stunned to hear that “Jose” had died behind the bus stop on Foothill Blvd. A person that kept to himself, who never ranged more than four blocks on his walker and his two plastic bags of belongings, was now gone.
Ordinary people were Facebooking back and forth that they had seen the body when they drove by or when they got on the bus. But no one stopped to see if he was dying or dead.
Who was “Jose”? The members of his Sunland Park Community just knew that he was there, quiet and never in trouble. Just another “camper” that lived on the street. Even I while driving up and down Foothill Blvd. making my rounds would see him either standing with his walker in apparent pain, or sitting on the ground.
No one even put up a memorial on the corner of the Bank of America building where he died. Everyone knew that he died of the cold, but what led up to him being alone on the cold concrete while the temperatures went down into the high 30s? Who was he really?
The L.A. County Coroner’s office still hasn’t told anyone because they haven’t found relatives to notify. To the homeless community, it was just another day in the life, another one of their members passing on to a better place. But who was “Jose”? What brought him to these circumstances? And what brought him to Sunland to die. And most importantly, why was “Jose” invisible until now?