The grieving father of Alyssa Elsman, the 18-year-old woman and lone fatality of an out-of-control driver who mowed down pedestrians in Times Square last Thursday, left a heartfelt note among the memorial of flowers and candles for his daughter.
“Alyssa loved this city […] she loved Times Square,” Thomas Elsman wrote in the lengthy letter. “She would appreciate all your kind words, but she would also tell us all to get back up and continue. That’s how full of life my daughter was.”
Alyssa was visiting New York with her mother and 13-year-old sister Ava, who was among the 23 people injured as the driver swerved into pedestrian crowds.
The Elsman family, from Michigan, was on the first day of their Big Apple vacation, according to WWMT-TV, when Navy veteran Richard Rojas, 23, drove his car into the crowd. The Michigan TV channel reported that Thomas Elsman stopped by the memorial after driving 13 hours from Kalamazoo.
His letter continued: “This impromptu memorial dedicated to our daughter and seeing and talking to you many of you has helped me cope with our loss. I look at myself and will never understand how I could ever have made such an angel… I’m glad you got your mothers looks.”
“I always have the answers… But I am blank… I have a hole in my heart that can never be filled. My world changed when you came into it, and it is unexplainable with you leaving it.”
The note was signed, “Dad.”