The worst of Wednesday’s snowfall in Hampton Roads was predicted to fall in the Williamsburg-James City County area.
It wasn’t a big deal snow, but it was a morning of wet and cold for homeless Vietnam veteran Keith Wassmer, who was trying to hitch a ride to Richmond.
“It’s difficult because people don’t trust you so they don’t pick you up. They always think you are going to do something criminal to them, and you have to convince them you won’t.”
When asked how he came to be homeless, Wassmer answered, “Bad marriage. I lost everything, I couldn’t find any work, so I ended up on the street.”
Is it tougher to hitchhike in the snow and rain? “Yes. It is snowing harder. People generally don’t want to stop when it’s raining. They don’t want to stop to talk with you, or anything like that. They keep their windows rolled up and keep on going.”
Then came an amazing turn to Wassmer’s story. The Vietnam vet agreed to be interviewed live on 10 On Your Side’s midday show.
He spoke about tough times, and serving in Vietnam, being unemployed, and homeless since 2006. He claims he couldn’t find work. He was standing with a sign that reads “Veteran West.”
He was heading west to Richmond. He had two bags by his side.
Ten minutes after the live shot, a man pulled up and told Wassmer, “I’ll give you a ride.”
He did not want to do an interview and didn’t want his car shown on TV. He wouldn’t give 10 On Your Side his name. He did say off-camera, “I was at home and I was channel surfing. I came across WAVY, and I saw he needed a ride to Richmond, so it was God’s way of getting me to do the right thing.”
The right thing indeed.
Wassmer was shocked. He had tears in his eyes. Wassmer said, “I’m blessed … [the good Samaritan] told us he was watching WAVY-TV and what happened a guy came and picked me up after watching us. He’s giving me a ride to Richmond … I feel good.”
As he got in the good Samaritan’s car he said, “I feel good. Just keep something in mind: 80 percent of homeless veterans are Vietnam veterans.”
The door then closed and Wassmer and the good Samaritan sped off down the road headed to Richmond.