Editorial: You brightened the street, Lionel Hills

*Photo: SST File photo from June 9, 2011.

For 12 years, Lionel Hills entertained drivers and passengers at the intersection of Thompson Road and Emerson Avenue. With his headphones on, Hills would ride his bike, sitting on it backwards, while dancing with fun props or doing tricks such as juggling. Sadly, the entertainment is coming to an end. The former spot of a veterinarian’s office with limited hours has since become a dental office that will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., not allowing for the empty parking lot where Hills would ride.

“I would like to say thanks for all of the support,” Hills wrote on a Facebook post. “The honks, the waves, those that stopped by to say hello and those that gave me tips even though I didn’t do it for money. I appreciate all of you. It’s been fun and exciting the whole time riding there. But seemingly, it has come to an end. And I’m okay with it now. I’ve had that lot for a long time and I thank God for gracing me with a talent that I could share with the community.”

The community loved Hills’ talent so much, they created a Facebook fan page in his honor: Guy on Thompson and Emerson that Rides His Bike Backwards, And Juggles! In the spring, Hills was even invited to perform during a Beech Grove High School basketball halftime show!

We loved driving by that intersection to see what Hills was up to that day, and to see the way he made people smile – that was his whole point. The Southside Times interviewed Hills in 2011, where he shared, “Sitting at a light is not easy. I do it so the light won’t seem so long for them. I look at the people looking at me. Some smile, some wave, some just look. It makes me feel good.”

We’re sad to see you go, Lionel, and we hope you can find another hobby that makes you as happy or happier than this one did!