Cards and well wishes for John

Since the mid-1990s travelers along Oxford’s highways and byways have seen him walking with his hat, sometimes smoking a small, thin cigar. He’s been affectionately called ‘The Walking Dude? and ‘The Mayor.?
John Albert Layman, 53, a resident of the group home on W. Burdick Street, is currently recovering from being run over by a gravel train on June 7.
His absence has many residents wondering and worrying. Rumors have circulated he has lost a leg or even died. Those are not true. According to Sue Pendred, owner of Art & Dick’s Party Store on W. Burdick, ‘the Mayor is improving.?
‘He’s getting better every day. His nurse said John is the model patient. His spirits are high,? she said.
Pendred hopes to keep his spirits on the upswing by hand delivering cards, cigars, donations, drawings — lots of love from the community. She has placed a box on the country for folks to drop off their well-wishes.
‘I’m leaving it out until Friday, then I’m taking it to him,? she said. ‘Our customers come in and want to know how he’s doing and how they can help. They always tell me how pleasant John was. He always told people, ‘God bless, you.??
John was a regular at the party store, employee Dee Gross said. ‘He’d come in seven or eight time a day.?
His unfortunate accident occurred when a gravel train turned left off southbound M-24 onto eastbound Burdick with the traffic signal showing a green arrow. Eyewitnesses confirmed the driver had a green arrow. Eyewitnesses said Layman illegally headed east through the crosswalk because the pedestrian signal indicated ‘do-not-walk? at the time.
The crosswalk where the incident occurred is between the Northeast Oakland Historical Society on the northwest corner and Red Knapp’s American Grill on the northeast corner.
Because it appears Layman was illegally crossing M-24 and therefore at fault, no criminal charges or traffic citations were issued against the driver of the gravel train.
Those who want to send a card or donation to John can visit Art & Dicks, located at 81 W. Burdick St.

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