Community members grieve loss of bicyclist, friend 

A memorial with flowers, balloons and candles has been placed on the sidewalk of Market Street and Railroad Avenue for Franklin Mejia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
A memorial with flowers, balloons and candles has been placed on the sidewalk of Market Street and Railroad Avenue for Franklin Mejia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
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Clients of Bridge to Home slowly trickled into the temporary housing location to pick up a warm dinner and avoid the cold winds on Sunday night — but unlike most other instances when they seek a warm meal on a cold night, this time they were also there to say goodbye to a friend. 

Bridge to Home, which provides shelter and other services to the local homeless population, held a private vigil Sunday night in honor of Franklin Mejia, a 42-year-old Santa Clarita resident, who was identified as the victim in the fatal auto vs. bicycle collision that occurred Saturday afternoon in Newhall. 

Shelter Manager Nicole “Niki” Feast-Williams began to settle the small crowd and dimmed the lights. The room was illuminated by the vibrant Christmas tree set in a corner with other decorations throughout the room and candles that people were lighting up and holding in their hands. 

The room fell quiet, and Feast-Williams asked if anyone was willing to share a few words in honor of their friend Mejia, the bicyclist who died on Saturday afternoon at the intersection of Market Street and Railroad Avenue. He was 42.  

A memorial with flowers, balloons and candles has been placed on the sidewalk of Market Street and Railroad Avenue for Franklin Mejia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
A memorial with flowers, balloons and candles has been placed on the sidewalk of Market Street and Railroad Avenue for Franklin Mejia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

Numerous clients began to share a few words about Mejia’s character and what a positive light he was despite the hardships he encountered throughout his life.  

“At first I didn’t like him,” said one Bridge to Home client. Everyone in the room reacted with laughter following his statement. “But turns out I loved him a lot. I know he struggles with things but he was still my friend and I loved him.”  

People quietly cried while holding onto the candles, respectfully allowing a space for people who knew Mejia to speak. Altogether there were approximately 40 Bridge to Home clients, staff and volunteers in the room.  

Mejia was often referred to as “Frank” and was a long-term Bridge to Home resident and client of the organization’s services.  

Another Bridge to Home client described him as having a generous spirit.  

“Frank would do anything for anybody in here all the time,” the client said. The entire room agreed in unison with head nods and “mhms.”  

“He might have lost his temper sometimes. But all you had to do was talk to him and, you know, he would change up and be, ‘Oh OK,’ you know. (Sometimes) he was upset because he was going through some things in life. And you know, he really didn’t know how to handle it but at the end of the day, he was awesome. Frank was really awesome.”  

Other residents and clients of Bridge to Home recalled the first time they met Mejia. He was described as a selfless person with a big heart and goofy personality, always dancing and having a smile on his face, despite his situation. He was always uplifting those around him with small acts of kindness. Mejia also had a daughter who he dreamed of reuniting with one day.  

Bridge to Home clients and friends with Franklin Mejia lit candles and shared words about him and his character during a private vigil on Sunday night. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Bridge to Home clients and friends with Franklin Mejia lit candles and shared words about him and his character during a private vigil on Sunday night. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

“It’s really hard to do this job because of course we are told that we can’t get close or connected to our clients. We see you guys every day of course and we want the best for you guys,” said Bridge to Home Team Lead Lisette Luna.  

“I know I try to respect my boundaries and it hurts sometimes when you guys want to say you love me and I can’t really say it back, but honestly I think this is one I do regret,” she said as she began to cry.  

Luna said that just last week she hugged Mejia and broke the rule by telling him she loved him back.  

He was generous and a gentleman who was always doing something to help the shelter, said Luna.  

“I feel like an angel was gone too soon.”  

Feast-Williams knew Mejia for approximately six years. She was the last one to speak during the vigil and was overwhelmed with emotions. Bridge to Home clients walked over to hold her hand, comfort and support her.  

A private vigil was held for Franklin Mejia at the Bridge to Home in Newhall on Sunday night. Mejia was the bicyclist who lost his life on Saturday at the intersection of Market Street and Railroad Avenue. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
A private vigil was held for Franklin Mejia at the Bridge to Home in Newhall on Sunday night. Mejia was the bicyclist who lost his life on Saturday at the intersection of Market Street and Railroad Avenue. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

“One thing that he always knew is that I never gave up on him,” Feast-Williams said emotionally. “No matter what, he was still the sweetest person.”  

Feast- Williams recalled that on occasions Bridge to Home would be at full capacity. Mejia never hesitated to give up his bed to someone else in need. He would either choose to sleep on the floor or would look for someplace else to spend the night. Mejia and Feast-Williams would argue about it but ultimately Mejia always won the argument, and he would come back when that person no longer needed a place to stay.  

He cared for everybody and always bought flowers for the shelter and helped around when it was needed, said Feast-Williams.  

“That was who he was.”  

A memorial with flowers, balloons and candles has been placed on the sidewalk of Market Street and Railroad Avenue for Franklin Mejia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
A memorial with flowers, balloons and candles has been placed on the sidewalk of Market Street and Railroad Avenue for Franklin Mejia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

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