An actual-life Soprano went from New Jersey gang member to musical star after movies of him singing to sufferers on the hospital the place he labored went viral.
28-year-old Enrique Rodriquez from Central Jersey, now works as a phlebotomist at Robert Wooden Johnson College Hospital and is extensively famend for his musical expertise.
He started posting movies on his TikTok account, which now boasts over 80,000 followers, of him singing and taking part in the piano for critically ailing sufferers within the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
He left behind a historical past of violence and crime to assist people who find themselves struggling after turning to faith.
He mentioned of his turnaround: “I discovered God at an especially troubling interval in my life and he confirmed himself to me after I wanted him most. I do know that God wished me to take care of individuals simply as he cared for me, and the hospital was the proper place to do this.”
It was 2009 when Rodriguez first bought concerned with gangs after his eldest brother went to jail.
The lack of his brother to the jail system meant that Rodriquez felt disconnected from his family members, and he went out looking for what he known as “the mistaken form of household.”
He turned a ‘blood member’ of a neighborhood gang for 3 years after being misled by the concept of becoming a member of a robust brotherhood and making fast and simple cash.
He defined: “The gang way of life is pure manipulation. They make you’re feeling like they care about you, that they’ve bought your again that you just’re household; however all they do is use you in order that they don’t should get their arms soiled.”
The turning level for Rodriguez got here when he damage the “mistaken particular person” and a rival gang got here after his mom.
There have been two makes an attempt made on his mom’s life earlier than the aggressors had been arrested, and Rodriguez believes it’s right down to God that his mom remains to be alive in the present day.
He added: “I’ve accomplished plenty of unhealthy issues and blended with plenty of unhealthy individuals.
“I’m simply grateful God seemed out for me and my household. He has given me the chance to start out a brand new life, and music is a large a part of that.”
Rodriguez started working within the hospital in 2012 as a housekeeper with a purpose to get a job there as shortly as potential.
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A 12 months later, he accomplished coaching to grow to be a affected person carer within the ICU, and now works as a phlebotomist ferrying COVID-19 and blood samples from totally different laboratories.
He has labored on the hospital for 9 years now, and through his profession, he found that he possessed a uncooked musical expertise.
Unable to learn sheet music, Rodriguez taught himself to play each the piano and the guitar, and practiced by taking part in in entrance of a number of sufferers on the ward.
Sadly, Barbara Freud, a most cancers affected person who was one in every of Rodriguez’s first listeners, handed away while he was on vacation, however he’ll at all times keep in mind the musical bond they shared.
He now makes common visits to sufferers’ bedsides and makes use of TikTok to reside stream his performances to tens of 1000’s of viewers.
Rodriquez plans to develop his following by making extra movies and spreading love and happiness by his music.
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He mentioned: “I like what I do and I imagine my objective on this world is to assist different individuals.
“After I’m singing to those sufferers I can really feel the connection now we have and it’s fantastic.
“There was a time the place I used to be singing to a affected person in a coma and he awakened for the primary time in weeks.
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“It was a real miracle.”
Subsequent week, Rodriguez will journey to Puerto Rico together with his church group to offer support to deprived youngsters, and there’s little question his guitar shall be making the journey too.
You may take pleasure in his musical expertise on his TikTok channel @thesingingphlebotomist.
(WATCH the SWNS video of Rodriguez singing beneath.)
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