Tyrone Barber Stands on Western Ave. and Exposition Blvd.
Wearing a Gown and Holding A Sign Claiming He Was Dumped by A Hospital
I returned back to the intersection of Western and Exposition
around 7:30 p.m. today after playing tennis, and Tyrone was still there.
About 3 blocks away were the same cops I saw earlier.
I was driving down Western Avenue in Los Angeles and was just about to hit Exposition Boulevard when I noticed a Black man standing in the middle of the street in a hospital gown with a sign that read something to the tune of he had been dumped on the street by a hospital.
Los Angeles has recently been plagued by reports of homeless men and women being dumped by hospitals in the dead of the night, so I was concerned this might be another case of patient dumping.
I immediately circled the block to come back and get a photo of this brotha and to give him the last $2 I had on me at the time. When I was approaching the intersection again, I was being loosely followed by a L.A.P.D. squad car. By the time I handed the brotha the money, the cops had pulled up on him and me. They said something that I couldn’t quite make out and took off.
I then decided to ask the brotha to meet me around the corner so that I could ask him what happened and ascertain for myself whether he was on one or had really been dumped.
According to both him and his hospital bracelet, his name was Tyrone Barber. He had on a L.A. County USC hospital gown, and explained to me—very calmly I might add—that had been dumped in Hollywood, and had caught the Western MTA bus to Exposition where he was. He said he was hot, tired, and thirsty so I gave him a bottle of water from my car. He said that his sister was coming to meet him on the corner and that he was not homeless, just sick, and disoriented. He claimed his sister lived in Victorville and would be along to get him and take him back there. He also said he had been in the hospital for the past 13 days and that he had refused to take the medicine doctors had prescribed for him.
The brotha, who had one tooth left in his mouth that I could see, repeatedly thanked me for the water, and hobbled across the street to use one of the dollars I gave him to get ice.
That was the last I saw of Tyrone.
For all I know Tyrone could have gotten that hospital gown and bracelet with today’s date on it anywhere, made a sign asking for help, and propped himself up on that corner waiting for some bleeding heart unsuspecting person like myself to pass by.
For all I know Tyrone could have really been dumped downtown, caught the bus to Exposition, and was really waiting for his sister.
What I do know is that there are two types of people in this world.
The kind that can drive by a half naked man in a hospital gown standing on the corner with a sign asking for help and not think twice about it.
And the kind that will stop to check it out and offer some sort of assistance, even if it’s just a bottle of water, $2, and concern for another human life—regardless of the fact that there’s no certainty we aren’t getting played.
Which one are you?