TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan — Amid the bright lights and bustling streets of Times Square, there is now also a touching note left behind by the father of a teenager killed last week by a speeding driver.
Tom Elsman’s daughter, 18-year-old Alyssa, of Michigan, was killed last Thursday when a man drove through multiple sidewalks in Times Square, mowing down pedestrians before crashing and being detained.
The teenager was killed, and 19 others were injured, including her 13-year-old sister who suffered a collapsed lung and broken pelvis.
Days after the incident, a memorial has been growing in Alyssa Elsman’s honor.
At the memorial, messages have been written by passersby on an NYPD barricade; flowers, stuffed animals and candles have been left; and a framed letter stands for all to read.
“Your condolences have been sincere and have been taken to heart,” Tom Elsman wrote. “She loved Times Square. She would appreciate all your kind words but she would also tell us all to get back up and continue.”
Although the memorial does not bring his daughter back, Tom Elsman writes that it is helping the family cope with their loss.
He began the letter by thanking the NYPD and medical staff who aided his daughter.
“There is (sic) no words that can express out gratitude with the outpouring of love and support this city has shown us,” the letter starts. “I have met to many people from different countries, regions, creeds, etc. … it doesn’t matter .. you have shown us that when you remove bias..racism..and ignorance.. WE ARE ALL ONE.”
Over the weekend, Tom Elsman told Michigan TV station WWMT, he'll never understand why this happened.
“My daughter came here for vacation, and now I’m going to take her home and bury here. I have no words, I really don’t. It’s just an empty, hallow feeling. It’s my first born daughter, and I’m never going to see her, giving grandkids, I don’t get to walk her down the aisle.”