Having to change doctors isn’t usually a weeping matter, but for the nearly 100 patients who lined Russell Boulevard for a retirement send-off Friday afternoon, a trip to Dr. Ted Ledet’s office — even if they were feeling awful — was a visit with an old friend.

“I hope I don’t cry again,” said longtime patient Susan Aikin, who was among those who spread advance news of the surprise send-off around town.

A sign hanging in Ledet’s office reads: “If you want to make sure the doctor is on time … ask him to hurry when he sees you.”

“Everyone who goes to him laughs about that,” Aikin said. “Once he saw you, you realized he took his time.”

After more than 35 years, the often blunt, always friendly internal medicine specialist is retiring due to health reasons. Pulling out of the parking lot on his final day in the office, Ledet indeed appeared surprised, rolling down his window to greet the crowd that had donned masks and waited along the sides of the road to display well wishes.

“Now it’s your turn to get well,” read a sign held by local businessman Rex Perry, who particularly appreciates the doctor’s unique bedside manner.

“You might not want to go to him if you’re thin-skinned,” Perry said, smiling. “He’s not going to sugar coat anything.”

Not that his patients didn’t rib him right back. Longtime patient Tommy Miller has been trading lighthearted insults with Ledet for more than 30 years, often teasing him about his Louisiana roots.

“He’s brought us through a lot,” says Miller’s wife, Colleen. “He’s just one of the good guys.”

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