The man lying on the sidewalk with his personal belongings strewn around him immediately caught the attention of a passing Westminster PD sergeant.
Sgt. Don Webb at about 11 a.m. Tuesday was patrolling on McFadden Avenue near Beach Boulevard when he stopped to check on the homeless man.
The man, who said his name was Richard, told the sergeant he suffers from cerebral palsy, doesn’t have full use of his legs and was having trouble getting out of the walkway.
Although Richard said he tries to stand and walk some with the help of a cane, he mostly relies on a wheelchair to get around, but his wheelchair was stolen the night before.
Webb wondered how many hours the homeless had been lying on the sidewalk that morning.
“Nobody called about him,” he said. “I just happened to be driving by the area and saw him.”
Webb, who has worked for Westminster PD for nearly 20 years, got out of his patrol car and helped Richard get to a grassy area near the sidewalk as he put out a message to his colleagues: Can anyone help find a wheelchair?
“I figured a local medical facility might have old equipment they would be willing to donate,” Webb said.
Within a half hour, Cpl. Scott Gump messaged Webb that Mission Palms Healthcare Center in Westminster would donate a wheelchair.
Gump delivered the wheelchair, and Richard thanked the officers and told them he wanted to try and get up by himself.
Richard grabbed each of his pant legs and dragged his foot toward him so he could reach down and tie the laces on his boots.
The sergeant and corporal offered to help, but Richard declined.
Then Richard tried to stand, and this time he needed Webb’s help.
“I usually fall down, but I also need to keep using my legs,” the homeless man explained to the sergeant.
Webb didn’t let Richard fall.
The sergeant helped the man get into his chair and promised he’d be back to check on him the next day.
“He was excited about it; he was stoked,” Webb said. “He told me, ‘Nice things do happen’.”
Webb is the kind of guy who does nice things when not wearing a badge, as well.
He and his wife spend their Thanksgiving mornings feeding the homeless and he offers to organize rides for the elderly who need help making doctor appointments.
The sergeant said he believes kindness is part of his calling as a Christian, and when he wears his badge, it is simply a part of his job.
“I don’t know that it’s going above and beyond,” he said. “When I saw this man, I thought I could help him. It was just a good thing to do.”