The adventure – serendipity typified
If I make time to revisit and re-edit this I will. Until then, allow for spelling or grammar issues. Enjoy the excitement of taking on finding a needle in the haystack.
On Saturday evening, May 9, 2015 I committed to going around East San Jose and visiting various homeless camps.
I was on a mission. I invited my son, Tony, to join me – he agreed. Our mission: to find my brother, Randy.
Sunday, May 10, 2015 (Mother’s day) we set out on our mission. We had some clues though.
My son had seen Randy a few weeks back on Capital Expressway at Quimby road. We started our adventure around 12:20 PM. We drove directly to Capital and Quimby. I had been here before to look for Randy. I had seen a homeless camp last time I was there. The camp was just south west of Capital and Quimby. We tried to get to the camp I had seen before. The access points had been boarded up.
We persisted and found openings along Quimby. There were breaks in the cyclone fence. We parked in the parking lot at Eastridge. After crossing the street our adventure took the first major step. We approached a homeless camp in the field.
“Hello, is anyone home?”
A male voice responded.
“I’m looking for my brother, Randy, Do you know Randy?
No – what is his last name?
“Loek – like a door lock”
No – I don’t know him.
Tony and I approached the next camp – no body was home.
Then we start walking toward the next camp – no body was home.
Then a man on a mountain bike approached. I asked if he knew my brother, Randy. Nope – I share that he was about little shorter than me. He said he knows everyone in this field and Randy was not a name he knew to be in this field.
The man rode off. A moment or two later the man had turned around. He shared that there was another group across the expressway along the creek. He gave us directions. I asked him his name – Able.
Able and I continued to talk for a while. We discussed my view that society or our community had failed many of these people living in these camps. Few people can disagree with my view, especially someone living in one of these camps.
I asked Able, “what do you want or need from society, not like a hand out but a hand up?” He was surprised that I would ask this question. “I don’t know, I’ll have to give that some thought.”
We continued to talk for several more minutes and about Randy. He eventually realized he had likely seen him near Aborn & Capital expressway; the Walgreens to be specific. This was interesting as it is near the Safeway he previously shared he lived near.
Tony and I heeded Able’s warning about the camps along the creek and we went toward Walgreens and the Safeway. We circled about, checking around the stores, looked for empty lots and homeless people.
We then went along Aborn looking for the creek. We found a creek and could see someone down under the bridge; too dark to make out much about this person. We crossed Aborn on foot to look at the the other side of the creek. We spotted another homeless person under this side of the bridge.
I went down into the creek bed and approached this man. He was clearly unkempt. I asked if he know Randy. Describing him as little shorter than me, blonde and much thinner. He said he saw someone like that just carry his bike up the other side of the creek. As I walked away I asked his name, “Daniel.”
I walked under the bridge. On the other side I saw the other man. I introduced myself. This person’s name is Kameal. He was a bit soft spoken and unsure of himself. One thing he did share was that homeless people up at the SaveMart knew everyone and to see Leo. He might know Randy.
Tony and I walked around the center and did not see Randy or Leo. Back to the car. Round and round we drove. All Four corners of Aborn and White. Then back to the Safeway on Capital. Then we went to lunch on Story and White. We looked around here.
Well – time to brave the camps that Able told us about. Down White Road to Quimby. We parked the car and headed down the creek. The first camp – no one was home. The second camp, no one was home. Third camp – jackpot!
Three men – all said hello back. I said from up on the bank I was looking for my brother, Randy. They asked if we had a picture – Tony had one on his phone. We went down into the creek and up half way of the other side.
First we met Alphonse – nope, I don’t recognize him. Then Jesse, nope, I don’t know him. Then Jim, hmm… I don’t think so.
I asked these three men, “what do you want or need from society, not like a hand out but a hand up?” Alphonse was quick to respond, “31 million dollars HA HA”; Jesse, a job and a place to clean up.” I said we’ve been discussing how we can bring out showers. They all thought that was expensive. I told them so what!
Tony and I started chatting with Jim some more. It turns out Jim is very talkative and knows many of these people. Soon Jim offered to take us to the homeless shelter and few other camps.
We walked down the creek to the next couple of camps. The first camp was empty, the next one had Kelly and Alicia.
Kelly & Alicia have a dog that was barking. A little dog looked like a wiener and Chihuahua mix. The dog and I got along quickly. Jim shared that I am looking for Randy. They did not know Randy. Jim asked me to ask them my question. Question? Oh yes, “what do you want or need from society, not like a hand out but a hand up?”
These two were touched that anyone would ask this question. Hmm, Kelly was thinking. Work – a job. Alicia liked the idea of a mobile shower.
One thing everyone shared – stop harassing them. Stop intimidating them. The police are intimidating the homeless. I would offer that the police are actually assaulting the homeless. Assault – look up the actual definition. You’ll be surprised. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/assault Don’t get me wrong –I love the police. I’ll back them in a heartbeat and I have. However, the tactics used on these people without recourse is unconscionable.
Jim, Tony and I are off to the balance of our adventure. We looked around the east ridge area. Then toward the homeless shelter on Little Orchard. We met several other people at the homeless shelter. Then off to the train tracks to meet “The Cowboy” also known as David. David knows Randy. He is behind the Burger King on Monterey. That camp was desconstructed earlier today. Everyone scattered.
We took a break at Burger King. We shared more with Jim about what little we knew about Randy’s whereabouts for the last few years. We described what little we know of the drug house on Senter. Jim knows exactly where we were talking about.
Off we drove to the drug house. This time I asked Tony to stay in the car. This place had people who you don’t dare turn your back on. They were all saying, “Randy who?” Jim shared details I did not know about Randy and then they knew who we wanted.
Back to the Safeway & Walgreens on Capital – he was supposedly living near a dumpster there. Jim was amazing – he asked a couple of people behind Safeway about Randy. Nothing!
Then – boom. We saw one more person. Jim approached him and learned of the garbage corral by Jamba juice.
There was a camp looking place behind that dumpster. It did not look good, looked like someone had taken down that camp too.
Well – Jim looked in the garbage corral. Jim asked, “Leo, do you know where Randy is?”
I looked over the corral wall. There was my brother, Randy.
Well, happy ending?
We won’t know for a while. Randy was shocked to see us, maybe embarrassed, maybe afraid – but clearly not ready to be seen.
Randy is having some health issues. His back is in pain, his leg hurts and he was wincing to move. He has been laid up for a while and Leo has been helping him.