Employees say the owner of a local business, in a coma after being hit by a train in Downtown San Diego, was someone who gave people a new lease on life.
Jeff Clark owns Thrift Trader--a business built on buying and selling used clothes and music.
On June 24, Clark was hit by an Amtrak train in Little Italy near W Hawthorne Street and California Street.
According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO), witnesses said Clark had been looking down at his cell phone at the time of the crash. He apparently did not notice that he was standing near the track, and did not notice the approaching train, witnesses told officials.
Clark suffered serious injuries and was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center.
Employees told NBC 7, he is in a coma after the incident.
"I was in between jobs and he gave me one and tried me out, just because I asked him and he took a chance," said employee Brian Weibel.
Weibel said he worked at Thrift Trader for three years until the doors were closed after Clark was hit by the train. Like many others, Weibel said he is hoping Clark, the man who once gave him a chance, will get another chance at life.
"I hope he can make a full recovery and get back at it. He was doing what he loves to do. He loves his business and his music," said Jonathan Nordeman, who worked for Clark at a previous business where they became friends.
Clark's passion for music turned into several CD's and the Music Trader chain back in the 1980's. After selling it, Clark started Thrift Trader.
The stores in Pacific Beach, Hillcrest and North Park closed last Monday, according to employees.
Clark and the stores' absence is felt by many in the community.
"He would have homeless people come in and paint and do some plumbing, give them a few dollars to eat for whatever they needed," Weibel said.
"Him just being such a generous person, they're going to miss him being there. He’s taken in people hard on their luck, giving them jobs," said Nordeman.
Employees said Clark is doing better, but this has been a tough year for him after suffering a stroke that impacted vision in his left eye.
It’s not clear if that played any role in the incident.