“Nobody Knows But Me”- Part 6- Encounter at Little Caesar’s

By Lang Martinez with Bonnie Rouda

 

This one I dedicate to Keith Repult author of the book,  ‘Just Breathe‘. I wanted to know what love is and I wanted you to show me.  Thank you for showing me what love truly means my friend.
Matthew 7 verse 1-5:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Keeping my promise;
God I’m begging you please don’t let me die like this and this time God if you save my life, I promise you I will give it all back to you“.
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It was  Saturday, July 13th, after seeing a movie my hunger brought us to Little Caesars Pizza. Believe me, at 9:30 on a Saturday night this place is packed!  You can forget about the advertisements saying Hot and Ready because there was nothing hot or ready.  Tonight was a 20 plus minute wait for the pizza.   I noticed while walking into Little Caesars a man standing outside by the door who was alone, dirty, with worn out clothes & a baby stroller filled with odds & ends.  Physically, you could tell he was in bad shape.  I went outside to talk to him, introduced myself and asked him his name. His hands were shaking and you could tell he wanted to talk. 
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(L-R) Homeless man at Little Caesar’s in Santa Paula, Lang Martinez. Photo: Bonnie Rouda

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He happily took a cigarette offered to him. I asked him if he was hungry- “Lang, I’m starving”.  How about a pizza?  “I can eat the whole thing- I’m that hungry”, he replied.  You could see he couldn’t stand up right. He was leaning against the wall, slouching towards the right side, holding his left side with his hand.  He began to explain why he was physically like this,  it brought tears to my eyes. 
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He began telling me how he was collecting pallets in the back of some warehouse where he had done it many times before with permission.   He explained that the pallets which have blue on them and are in good shape get him$10 and  the ones that are broken, between $5 and $7 dollars. He was in the back trying to get a couple of pallets when three warehouse workers came outside yelling & cursing at him to get out of here.  He did not argue the point, just tried to get his stuff and leave, but it wasn’t fast enough for them. These three individuals began beating him as he was trying to leave.  This beating, that was in no way provoked or deserved, resulted in a broken shoulder and three broken ribs! I had to look away because of the rage I felt and tears swelling in my eyes. They have to pay for their ruthless actions.  I asked him where this place was, he knew why but instead said to me,  “no Lang I have forgiven them and so has God”.  I’m not going to lie, there was no forgiveness in my heart for what these three individuals did to him, that forgiveness only came later as we continued to talk. 
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The subject changed and a smile appeared on this man’s face.  He began telling stories from his past that you could see made him very happy. “I’m from Texas originally but have been around here for a long time. I’ll tell you one of my favorite stories” he continued.  “I remember when Jimi Hendrix played at the Ventura Fairgrounds!  You couldn’t believe the fairgrounds then. It was like a wolfpack of Jimi fans. All adoring the music and telling each other about their love for him. The music was unbelievable, That man sure could play that guitar.  Sadly I think that might have been his last show. I’m not sur,e but no matter what we lost one of the greatest guitar players ever”.  The way he told the story, talked about the people,  hummed the music, pretended to play guitar made you feel like you were there yourself listening to Jimi Hendrix play at that fair. 
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A simple memory spoken made this man so happy.  All that he needed was someone to just listen. I realized that this was part of my promise to God.  This man went back to a memory when life was good and he was happy. You could see that while he was talking.  Reminiscing about all the happy places & times his mind took him.  Those memories, even for a few minutes took away all the pain he felt being on the streets.  I wish I had the power to take him home, back to the time when his life was good, but sadly it can only remain a wish. 
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We talked about God.  He was able to recite Bible verses that I do know and many that I haven’t even read before or studied yet.  He agreed that the Power he needs had to come from our Lord and Savior.  I’m living proof that God is the only solution for all who are killing the pain with drugs & alcohol and leaving them homeless.
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The pizzas were finally ready.  He was given a pizza, a soda and water.   He said,  “all this for me”? “God bless you for your kindness”.  We gave him the Keys to Recovery Newspaper. Read page 8 in tyhe July, 2019 issue, I told him. There you can read all the Miracles that God has done for me as well as the stories in Citizens Journal. I suggested if he wanted to work on things like what God has done for me to email Citizens Journal and simply say, “George I need help- can you call Lang for me?”  Whatever he is doing or needs, just make that call.
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After giving him all the information he stood up as straight as he could, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I know you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, I saw you cry the whole time”.  He then began to pray for the both of us.   
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Yep, this is what God wants me to do. Even if it is listening to a story that takes away a person’s pain just for a few minutes while they are in their happy place reliving a fond memory that’s what I need to do!
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Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”..  “Amen”!     
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“I admit I have only skimmed the surface, but I’m ready for the journey”.   Thank you for that Lorenzo
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On 5:30 pm on July 31 at Mission Church, I will be celebrating one year of sobriety. The address is 5353 Walker Street Ventura , CA. 93003. You are welcome to attend.
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Editor’s note: The formerly homeless author of this article told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and been in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.


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One Response to “Nobody Knows But Me”- Part 6- Encounter at Little Caesar’s

  1. Rafael Stoneman July 22, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Straight to the heart of the matter, your best article yet, Lang.

    Reply

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