On April 29, 1992 the riots erupted in Los Angeles and I was working at the Disneyland Hotel in the Monorail Cafe at the time. I remember hearing about what was happening and watched in the cast member lunch room what was happening. Like everyone around, I was glued to the TV this day into night. As the riots continued, we were informed that Disney wanted any cast members that lived in the LA areas to stay at one of the hotels until it was safe.
I was working the closing shift this night, and defiantly did not want to drive home, after I saw the fires and looting on TV, so I was put up at the Heidi Hotel next to the Disneyland Park. That first night I got to the hotel around 1:00am, crawled into bed and watched as much news as I could until I fell asleep.
The next morning I knew I would be staying at least one more night, and decided to head home to pick up some clothes and supplies to tied me over for a few days. It was late morning when I turned off the 5 Freeway on to the 10 Santa Monica Freeway. As I drove there were rocks on the freeway and cars driving so fast, zig zagging all around me, It was pretty scary stuff. I finally exited at South La Cienega blvd and headed towards my apartment on Bedford. As I got closer, I found the gas station on the corner was blocked off and burned. The streets in my neighborhood, were empty of people but garbage and bricks tossed on the sidewalks and streets.
I found parking down the street and walked very fast to my apartment. I was happy to see that the apartment complex looked untouched and safe. As quickly as I closed the door, one of the neighbors came over and was so happy to see that I was ok. They were worried about me, because I had not return home last night. Most of my neighbors knew I worked at Disneyland and were always wonderful towards me. I would always try and bring a little something home for the kids who would always run up to me when I was off work.
I had a ton of calls from my family on my answering machine when I got home, so I called Mom right away to let her know what was happening. To say my Mom was a little freaked out was an understatement, but I assured her I would stay safe.
I stayed at the Hotel, another night then decided I should headed back to my place. A friend of mine, Jessie (from Marine World) was my neighbor across the street, and saw me drive up. He asked me to stay over at his place for the night just in case, as the area was still settling down.
As a new week started, life was returning to normal and I was changed. I was now more aware of my surroundings, more aware of who was watching me and knew I had to keep myself safe. Within a few months I would move to Santa Ana with a bunch of coworkers.