Willy | Invisible People

Willy


The first time I saw Willy in his wheelchair in the park, I walked by him. I really try hard to not meddle with how things happen, but I’ve noticed that I make preliminary judgments […]

Willy

The first time I saw Willy in his wheelchair in the park, I walked by him. I really try hard to not meddle with how things happen, but I’ve noticed that I make preliminary judgments on who may or may not make a good story and who I should approach. I don’t know if it is the television producer in me, a normal human reaction, or that I may feel their pain and hesitate to connect with those who are really hurting.

When I was leaving the park for the day, I stopped in the public restroom. This time I could not walk by Willy because his wheelchair was blocking the entrance. He had a dirty old paper cup and was trying unsuccessfully to lean out of his wheelchair to fill it with water. Just remembering this moment brings tears to my eyes, it was very sad. Outside I ran into Miguel, another homeless man bound to a wheelchair I met earlier and we started to talk. Willy came strolling by and I froze; I really didn’t know what to say. But we struck up a conversation and he agreed to record his story.

After Willy had his toes cut off he stayed in a hospital for a year. Since his discharge he’s had nowhere to go. He says he has a place to stay in Van Nuys, but by the looks of him, he had been on the streets for some time. Willy spent the night before this interview sleeping outside in his wheelchair with no blanket.

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  • Phyllis

    This brought tears to my eyes. I volunteer at a homeless center in Charlotte NC, where the homeless can come 7 days a week for lunch, and also during the week they can take showers, wash clothes, make phone calls, pick up mail,( they use the centers address) and speak to counsellors that help them get id’s and bus passes. It is a truely rewarding experience. During the winter months, the churches have got together, and have a program called “Room at The Inn”, and when the center closes- around 4, buses and vans come to pick up the “neighbors”, and take tem to the different churches and shelters. But there is so much that needs to be done.

  • charlotte

    I feel so sad for Willy,but I think it’s important to be a witness to these stories….thank you for making it possible.