His name is James and he needs our help. https://www.gofundme.com/help-james-get-a-new-wheelchair

Many of you know James Lappin as the “gent in the wheelchair encamped in front of the Cambridge Trust Company in Harvard Square.” James is an amputee and has a severe speech impediment. In spite of such overwhelming physical challenges, he has a ready smile, an impish sense of humor and can be counted on to blow kisses at girls passing by. If you happen to be the recipient of one of his kisses and turn to acknowledge it; he will greet you with a devilish twinkle in his blue eyes.

I run into James many mornings at Dunkin Donuts in the Harvard Square T Station. In fact, just last week, I was getting my usual decaf and ran into James struggling to place his coffee in his cup holder. The cup holder is tilted from use and his coffee was spilling out. I wished for a bungee cord or tie wrap to secure it. James motioned to me and it took nearly ten minutes for me to understand what he was saying; he was asking me to help him into the elevator, which I did. I pushed him to the corner of Dunster and Mass. Ave. when his wheelchair promptly got stuck on the handicap access ramp. I was getting nervous because if I pushed too hard, I feared he would fall out of his chair. A construction worker from the Smith Campus Center project came to our aid and wheeled James to his location in front of the bank.

Since then I have been thinking about bungee cords, Velcro and tie wraps to fix his cup holder when Dan Andrew of Trademark Tours shared news that a compassionate and empathetic student from Harvard University came up with a far better idea. George David Torres, who studies mathematics and physics at Harvard started this fundraising campaign to purchase James a new wheelchair. We are grateful to George whose desire to help is inspirational. Please consider donating to this very worthy cause…coming together, as we so often do, to help a friend and fellow citizen of Harvard Square.

With thanks and appreciation,


Denise Jillson
Executive Director
Harvard Square Business Association