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  • Writer's pictureMike Mahoney

Malibu Nick

When we returned from Joshua Tree, we decided to return to Malibu Beach to ride out the impending atmospheric river storm. If a storm and heavy rain are coming, why not be at the beach - on high ground, of course. From here, we'll head north for a bit before returning to San Diego.

Malibu. Outside of LA, Santa Monica, Pepperdine University, the Kardashians, the Jenners, etc., it is the land of celebrities, beautiful people, and an even more gorgeous coastline.

At Malibu Beach RV Park the views are incredible and some very expensive real estate. As you'll see from the photos, the beauty abounds. And then the invisible beings we call homeless, smack dab in the middle of fancy town.

Nick has lived on Dan Blocker Beach for a couple of months now. He is 30-something, articulate, from Santa Monica yet living in a tarp-covered shelter right on the beach. With this last storm, he was pummeled by rain, sand, rocks, and the ferocious Pacific.

While staying at the beautiful park perched safely on the bluff overlooking Pacific Coast Highway the the ocean, I would take Portia across Highway 1 to Dan Blocker Beach for her ever-so-needed exercise she craves by running up and down the beach desperate to catch one of those sea birds. While walking down to the beach I could see a sundry of stuff in the bushes and then a guy sitting there keeping to himself trying to stay out of the path of beach-goers. As we passed, he was quiet and had a polite way about him with the strong smell of a "wet dog" emanating from him.

After the torrential rain and wind passed, Portia and I returned to the beach. There he was. The beachcomber, pants, and shoes off, but strategically covered, trying to dry off and warm up his legs and feet in the welcome warmth from the Sun. As I passed by again I mentioned that I'd be back the next day to bring him some dry clothes and some cash. He acknowledged that it would be welcome.

The next morning Portia and I went back to the beach with a few things in a bag and some cash. He was grateful and I asked if I could take his picture, he said sure, he didn't mind. He also asked if there was anything he could do for me in exchange for the items. While engaged I asked how long he'd been there. He told me a few months. I asked where he was from his answer was Santa Monica which is not far at all from this section of Malibu. I asked about family. He went on about his Mom and he said she's changed and thinks she is a Russian spy and the Air Force is trying to use them for research for drone software that penetrates buildings etc...

I only share this story because this is just one of the countless people who are just lost in society. I believe Nick is camping on the beach because he prefers it to living with his Mom whom he thinks is up to no good, or he is running from the help he needs but refuses to accept it. Just another mentally ill person perhaps lost in the mire of bureaucracy or a system that doesn't even know he exists.

The juxtaposition of such beauty with multi-million dollar homes and the beautiful Pacific Ocean with Nick's camp right next door is perplexing and says so much about our world.









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3 Comments


jim.hirsch
Feb 09

The gift of caring and conversation you gave to Nick hopefully provides him some respite from the daily challenges he must be facing. Thanks for sharing as we all need reminders as to how to care for our fellow humans.

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Jayne Miller
Jayne Miller
Feb 09

Bless you Mike. You treated this young man with dignity and respect. All your pictures are fabulous and the message is received, be kind.


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Matthew Davison
Matthew Davison
Feb 09

Mike, thank you for this story. We are currently in Portland, ME, our hometown, and the homeless population is growing. Mental illness is a huge problem in this country, and only getting worse. If anything reminds me of Jesus, when he was here on this earth, it’s not missing the opportunity you just had, and acting on it. Thanks for blessing this young gentleman, and may we all think about doing something for these fellow human beings, instead of just walking by trying not to make eye contact. What a fantastic camping spot!!! Sara and I hope to make it out to the PCH some day…..happy trails

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