The father of Alyssa Elsman, the teen on vacation with her family who was killed in Times Square last week when a driver allegedly plowed into pedestrians in the crowded tourist spot, wrote a thank-you letter to the people of New York for helping him and his family in the wake of the tragedy. In an interview on CNN affiliate WWMT, Tom Elsman of Michigan said he was touched by the impromptu memorial set up for his daughter in Times Square, where one sign reads “New York Will Never Forget You Alyssa” among other handwritten messages, candles, and flowers. Tom placed his own framed letter directly on top, in which he wrote that there are "no words that can express our gratitude with the outpouring of love and support this city has shown us. Our medical staff, the NYPD and most of all YOU.”
He added that seeing the memorial helped his family cope with their loss, and he was moved by the kindness from “so many people from different countries, religions, creeds.” Elsman called New York’s police force the "greatest guys in the world” for taking special care of his family, telling WWMT officers even got the family pizza and brought them hats. He says 18-year-old Alyssa loved visiting New York (she posted a photo from a previous trip on Instagram last year), and he included a special message to her in his letter: "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. I love you kid. Just no words."