Thank you to those who commented on today’s earlier, emotional post. My father is doing much better now — he was able to regain consciousness and was coherent by the time I was finally able to see him. The CAT scan did not reveal any serious damage, but they want to keep him at the hospital overnight for observation.
I realize that the earlier entry was curt and may have been a bit confusing to some. So here’s the full story…
My father runs a coin-operated laundromat in the South Bronx. Ask any seasoned New Yorker where the most dangerous areas in the Five Boroughs are, and the South Bronx will most certainly be on the list.
Earlier today, a woman entered the store and started to make a big fuss about her daughter’s clothes not being in the appropriate dryer. My father told her that the customer is responsible for watching over his/her own property, as is clearly stated in various signs around the establishment. But the woman would not relent, and she continued to scream and make a ruckus for an hour and a half, disturbing the other customers in the process.
Finally, my father asked her if she would like to take a look at the security footage in the back room, and she agreed. He showed her how no one had been using the dryer in question, and how her daughter was not even at the laundromat at the time when she supposedly dropped off her clothes.
The woman hurried away in a huff. But before doing so, she grabbed a container which housed money that were collected from the change machine.
My father quickly went off after her despite the protests from the other worker. He — now, even I will admit that this was dumb on his part — followed her back to her apartment building, and when she noticed him in the lobby whilst waiting for the elevator, she became physically violent. She pushed, shoved, and even kicked him in the chest.
My father shoved her back and told her that he had her on camera, stealing the money, and that he now knew where she lives.
Then he headed back to the store. Within minutes, the woman returned, this time with her brother in tow.
Now, the woman was pretty big — at least 5’10” and about 200 lbs by my father’s estimates (I saw a picture of her and this seems to be a fair approximation). Her brother was a lot larger. But my father? He stands 5’6″ and is thin as a rail due to his illness.
He had no chance against them, and they knew it. Together, they began to beat up on my father.
He did his best to dodge and block them, and even tried to run away a few times. But they were unrelenting. Even as he fell to the ground, they continued to beat him.
The other customers at the store started to scream and yell at them to stop. One person was level-headed enough to call the police and an ambulance. My father tells me that when the sound of the ambulance became audible, the sister and brother ran away from the scene.
And that’s how I found my father, lying on a blood-stained pillow, with a fat lip and other bruises starting to form, with traces of blood all over his face and arms where the hospital staff had failed to clean him properly.
I did my best not to cry as I approached him and held his hand. He asked me why I bothered to make the long trip from New Jersey when I am still in pain myself, and who was watching Claire? (I had called J as soon as I heard what had happened, and he hurried home from work so that I could go be by my father’s side.)
“Because I’m your daughter. Because I know you would do more for me,” I told him.