People We See: Meet Daniel Mathis

In this feature, Association CEO John Hawkins introduces you to people you see every day,
but you might not know who they are. The Club reminds you that we all have names and stories to tell.

Meet Daniel Mathis

Location of interview: “I was on my way to get some food at Clark Street Bakery on Glendale Boulevard just outside of Downtown when I saw Daniel sleeping on the sidewalk on a side street. I have since stopped by a couple of times making sure he was okay, and supplied him with goodies.”

– John Hawkins

Birthday: Nov. 19, 1974 (48)

Birthplace: “Fitzgerald, Georgia.”

Education: “San Antonio High School, Petaluma, California. I went to junior college during high school.”

Family: “My mom was born in Winter Haven, Florida, and my dad was born in Jacksonville. Me and my family left Georgia three weeks after I was born and moved to Florida. My dad had to reenlist in the Navy. He was a welder, and he welded nuclear submarines. He was also on the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS L.Y. Spear. He left the Navy as an E-5. My dad died from cirrhosis of the liver in 2007; my mom is still alive and lives in Petaluma. I have two older sisters and one older brother.”

Moved to LA: “I came down to Los Angeles [from Petaluma] to go to college and work with the Job Corps.”

Disability: “For years I have had chronic depression and acute anxiety. I was recently diagnosed with cancer on my neck and I am disabled on SSI.”

First night: “My first night on the street I was actually in San Diego, and I fell asleep on a bus bench. I woke up and there was a blanket on me, and an apple. They were so sweet. I fell asleep waiting for the bus. I was 38.

“I started living on the streets to keep myself safe from [someone] who is trying to get me.”

Favorite candy: “Milk Duds.”

Favorite movie: “I’ve got quite a few. Let’s see, Batman Trilogy, with Christian Bale.”

Favorite TV show: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Advice for a 16-year-old: “Finish school. Do not walk out of college without your degree; at least get your two-year Associate’s if nothing else. Do not take out loans unless you absolutely have to. Stay away from alcohol and drugs.”

In five years: “I’m hoping I’ll be dead. I’m 48. I’m too old for this. This is not where I wanted to be in life. I was hated for being gay.

“I am on the Methadone program. I was doing heroine and fentanyl. Someone from my past always ended up introducing me into old drugs and old habits like crystal meth, which I started when I was about 21 years old.”

Make a wish: “If I could wish for anything it would be to have my health back, to not be a drug addict and to have a part time office job. To be financially a little more secure.”

Association CEO John Hawkins and Mark DeLon.

The Club gave Daniel toiletries, food, $20 and bottled water.

The interview was conducted by John Hawkins, CEO, Los Angeles City Employees Association.