Q: I was driving to SFO around 7 p.m. one night to pick my wife up at the airport and planned to stop at the Father Serra rest stop along Interstate 280 before reaching the airport maze. To my surprise there were no vacant parking places. The entire lot was filled with people living in their cars and old RVs.

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I parked on the on ramp and walked the 150 yards back to the restroom which was filthy with some fixtures broken. The parking lot also was a mess and felt unsafe.

It’s obvious the rest stop has been abandoned to the homeless. There has to be a better option for those less fortunate. Safe places with bathrooms, showers, and even security. Our community has to create safe options or the entire Bay Area will look more like a third world landscape with the haves and have nots. We can and must do better.

Mike Duncan
San Jose

A: This really saddens me. This is the rest stop near the Crystal Springs Reservoir where the late Jerry Morissette became the caretaker in 1993, transforming it from a pit filled with drug users, a sex pickup spot, graffiti and broken bottles. He eventually got a job as a supervisor with Social Vocational Services in San Mateo County.

Soon he and his trio of disabled workers made the restrooms sparkle and planted 150 types of flowers and 350 fruit trees on the grounds. Women loved the beautiful nasturtiums he placed in a vase at each sink in their restroom.

He even brewed coffee for weary travelers, and his work eventually drew national media attention, with CNN and others taking note of the good Samaritan who had adopted a rest area.

Morissette, who died of cancer several years ago, had his troubles, including a taste for drink and a temper. He lived in a shed and later a trailer at the rest stop, given to him by Caltrans before being told he had to go in the late 1990s.

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“Jerry’s Garden” at I-280 Father Serra rest stop needs sprucing up: Roadshow

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