– [Mark] Kenneth, we’re here in Venice. – Right. – [Mark] You’re homeless.
– Yeah. – [Mark] Tell me about it. – I’ve been out here for five years. I was married, with six kids. And I was a gambler. So I’m not gonna lie about it. That was probably the biggest reason I ended up here. But there’s a lot of other things that came into the mix, you know. Like the infidelity with me and my wife, we both had problems, so that helped the divorce, going to play. And then the child support came in and next thing you know I’m like, “I got no money to rent a place or live”, so I’m out here. Before that, I was working in aerospace for 13 years. – [Mark] Wow.
– And, you know, I had got that job because the supplier, the people at the aerospace company I was working for said, “Hey, you only got one black working here” and they had like 300 employees. So they said, “We need you to hire another
employee that’s black”. So I was the guy. And the reason was because the guy who was in HR saw that I went to the same high school as him. So he hired me. He said, “Okay, I’m gonna hire you” and he talked to me, interviewed me and said, “You got everything we need and you’re from my same school”. So that’s how I got hired. Because the Martin, I’m trying to think of the name of the aerospace company. What is that? Lockheed Martin. – [Mark] Right, right. Lockheed Martin told them they need to hire more blacks. And so they hired me. So there was just two of us there. Out of 300 employees. I was there 13 years. And everything was fine, the owner was loving me. He was giving me season tickets to the Lakers basketball games. I was enjoying it. But then something came
up and Lockheed said, “Hey, we’re gonna be pull our 5 million dollar contract outta here”. So the owners naturally said, “Okay, no problem. If you gotta go, we gotta get rid of some extra baggage that we hierd when we took on your company”. – [Mark] Right. – And the first person
they pointed to was me, because they had asked
them to hire another black. I didn’t know it at the time. I’m notta gonna lie, I had no clue. But all of a sudden, things start coming at me. They’d be calling me
to the office and say, “Hey, you messed up on this. You did this, you did that”. And I’m like, “What the heck? Our system doesn’t do that”. And they was like, “No, but you gotta figure it out”. They were making up stuff
to make me look like, – [Mark] Yeah, I’ve been
forced out of gigs before. – like I was failing. Finally, something came up and the guy said, “We’re gonna have to let you go because we lost a contract, and” That was part of it, they said “We lost a contract, and you’re not fitting in with us right.” – [Mark] Right.
– But I was a senior guy in shipping. I was the guy that had
been there 13 years. – [Mark] Right, right.
– Anybody else that was there, was there less years. So I kinda started sensing that. But then one of the guys from Lockheed came up to me and said, “Hey, is everything okay?” And I’m like, “Yeah, nothing, no problem”. Cause I didn’t know it
was coming that hard. – [Mark] Right.
– So “Yeah, everything’s fine. I don’t think they’ll, you know” They just transferred
me to another location. So when they transferred
me to that location, the guy that was in charge there, he was a head hunter. He was professionally hired
for them to cut heads. – [Mark] Yeah. I’ve heard of that. – And while I was there, he had cut many heads before he got to me. Months and months before me. But they finally, because I was a senior, I was training people and stuff like that. I had like five guys trained under me before they finally start saying “Okay, we’re gonna get rid of you”. – [Mark] Then what happened? – They finally pushed me out of it, let me know that, “Hey, we gotta let you go”. I didn’t realize that was what
it was from until afterwords, when I talked to one of the
guys from Lockheed and he said “Yeah, they told us they were gonna get you if they took that contract out”. – [Mark] What’s that the
path on the homelessness? – Yeah. I was making $40,000 a year. So once they did that, I never went back to work after that. And I kinda just, was pissed off. I was trying to think of what I should do and then I said, “Okay, I’m not gonna do nothing because I’ll let God
do my fighting for me”. You know what I’m saying? – [Mark] Right. So I stayed with my mom
and my brother for a year. And then they did what everybody, every brain washed person normally does. “You can’t live off us, you gotta go”. So they pushed me out. So I ended up here at the beach. For a while I was managing, doing GR. I actually had a job last year. I was working all the way up to last year in June. – [Mark] So you were
working and living out here? – Yeah.
– [Mark] Working poor, working homeless.
– Yeah. What happened was it was so hard, because I was working at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, getting off at 10:30, having to catch a bus back here at 12, get back here at one, wake up at six in the morning because that’s the time
they make us wake up. And having to move all my stuff. And then have to go back at work at 2:30, and hat to leave it at 12. I did it for a year. And I’m like, “No. I can’t do this. I’m gonna kill myself”. So I finally decided, that’s it. So last June I quit. – [Mark] What’s homelessness
like out here in Venice? – If you do it wrong it’s really tough. And when I say wrong, getting on drugs, getting on stuff not thinking about what you’re not planning for tomorrow. You end up in a situation where you can’t survive the next day. But once I started seeing that I have to live this life just like if I was a basketball player, or if I was a CEO. I got to make sure that I do everything. So I start going around, I smoke a little bit, like the snipes. I start going to trash cans, I start making sure I have my blankets, my pillows, my umbrellas. – [Mark] People aren’t
gonna know what snipe is. – It’s a cigarrete,
– [Mark] Right. – that’s been half smoked, or 3/4 smoked. – [Mark] I used to call’em war buds. Used to say “war’s going on this one”. – We get those and keep us going without having to buy stuff. – [Mark] Yeah.
– And once I saw that I could make it like that I said, “Okay, I’m gonna trust in God, and I’m gonna just live like this”. So I start scraping the curves, that’s going by every
car that’s in your area until you find what they drop when they get out sometimes. Which is a pack of cigarettes, which is a lighter, which is sometimes money. And trust me, on many occasions I’ve found $100 bills. Five dollar bills, you know. – [Mark] Perfect.
– And it’s just living this life the way you would live if you were in a CEO job or if you were in some other job. – [Mark] You get used to it.
– Yeah. – [Mark] You come out here and you adapt. – You make it work. The thing was I saw that
it was providing for me. So who am I to complain that it’s this much instead of that much? Who am I? Because I messed up. I gambled. I ain’t gonna lie. But I was making enough money to gamble. But it was just that I
got so addicted to it that it forced me.
– [Mark] Did homelessness cure your gambling problem? – Definitely. And I wouldn’t call it homeless, I’d say God did it. Because he made me see that if you’re gonna win, one ticket is all you need. You don’t need to spend $100 on tickets. And that’s what I’ve really come to now. Like today. Today the lotto is a billion dollars. – [Mark] No way. – Yeah, it’s a billion dollars. And I got one ticket. – [Mark] Good for you! – I haven’t quit gambling, but trust me,
– [Mark] Yeah, yeah. – Trust me, it’s down
to a whole other level. – [Mark] Yeah, one ticket. And I hope you win. – And it’s just that. I try to reason with it. I’m here and I’m dealing
with a lot of other people that I wouldn’t ever met. – [Mark] This morning you were so nice, I had to come back, hook you up with some sneaks. – And I really appreciate that, that was great. – [Mark] You’re so nice cause I brought – Let them see’em. There you go.
– [Mark] Hey, Gary V. – I’m gonna play me some
basketball tomorrow. Tomorrow. I mean, everything like
this is appreciated. And it’s one small piece of the puzzle. When I get a shirt, when I get some blankets and stuff like that, now I get everything I need. – [Mark] I came through
with a college class. I had never done that before. I was a little worried, because there’s so many of them. – And they were very, they were very amazed and really looking at me and wanting to see. And I saw it in their eyes. They wanted to understand
what they could do, and it’s life. It’s just life. – [Mark] Kids are gonna end homelessness. – Right. – [Mark] They are gonna do it. We messed it up, they are gonna end homelessness. – And the thing is, it can happen to anybody. And that’s the part
that I always looked at when I was seeing these people and I was working and making money. I would hand them money. I would get my kids, cause I got six kids, I would get my kids and say, “Hey, give’em some money”. Because that’s the good thing to do. And I think that’s part of why that I do so well out here. And when I say “do so well”, I can’t say that I’m rich, I can’t say that I’m
eating what I wanna eat, cause I would rather have a kitchen where I could cook everything I want. But I can say that I’m comfortable. – [Mark] You’re surviving. – And nobody can really deny that if you’re comfortable, that something’s wrong. – [Mark] Homelessness did that for me. I worked in TV before I was out here and I was nasty. And now, after homelessness, you give me a ham sandwich
and a bag of Doritos and I’m happy.
– Right. Cause it doesn’t take much anymore. – [Mark] You become grateful. – You become more appreciative
of the little things. And that’s the thing that I’m noticing: the little pieces of the
puzzle make the whole puzzle. And I gotta accept when I get something that I wish had more, but I’m like “Let me set this over here, get that over here”, and then next thing you know, I got the whole picture. And it’s just a matter of being patient, being understanding that you are not a wealthy person so you can’t go out and buy stuff. But accepting what you have. That’s something that even in a world of work. If you only make 50,000 a year, you gotta accept that that’s all you have. You make a million dollars a year, you gotta accept that’s all. I mean, those people want more. Of course I want more. – [Mark] If you had three wishes, what would they be? – Number one, because
I’m always playing it, to hit the lotto.
– [Mark] There you go. – But number two, which I have to move back to number one, is that God is on my side. Because without him all of this, I wouldn’t even be here. I have to move him back into number one. So then we go, number two: hit the lotto. – [Mark] Yeah.
– And number three, just having somebody to come by one day with a Big Mac. (laughs) – [Mark] A Big Mac?
– Real hot (laughs). – [Mark] A real hot Big Mac? Well, that might happen. – Because those are the kinda things that we don’t get out here. Just hot food. And you gotta deal with
the cold sandwiches. – [Mark] Because you got no place to – To cook.
– [Mark] Yeah. – I mean, we do have grills and stuff, but it’s hard to setting that
up and do that every day. You get tired of doing that. So it’s complicated, but it comes with the territory. – [Mark] Kenneth, thank you
so much for talking to me and being so cool for the
college class this morning. You are awesome, it’s an honor to be here. – And I’m glad that you did that and brought them out here. Because for kids at that age, for a seed to be planted in them, that type of a seed, showing them that they have
to be more understanding, is beyond anything that
we do in this world. – [Mark] They asked me
to speak in their class and I said “Why don’t you just come down and we’d go for a walk?” – Right. That was beautiful. – [Mark] Well, thank you. You have a good night, man. – Yup. Thank you for coming out. And the shoes, I love them. And I’m gonna play basketball tomorrow. – [Mark] Okay.
– Alright. Have a good one. (relaxing music) (relaxing music) (relaxing music) (relaxing music)