From gang-banger to gospel singer, COVID-19 health care provider Enrique Rodriguez is going viral for saving lives one hymn at a time.
“I know that God wanted me to care for people just as he cared for me,” Rodriguez, 28, told Newsflare.
“And the hospital was the perfect place to do that,” added the phlebotomist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
With more than 80,000 TikTok followers, the former member of the Bloods shares trending videos of himself serenading critically ill intensive care unit patients with faith-based songs of comfort.
“[God] has given me the opportunity to start a new life,” Rodriguez chimed. “And music is a huge part of that.”
The sinner-turned-saint traded in his streetwear for hospital scrubs after two gang-related attempts were made on his mother’s life.
“I found God at an extremely troubling period in my life and he showed himself to me when I needed him most,” said Rodriguez, who joined the Bloods in 2009 after his oldest brother was sentenced to prison.
“The gang lifestyle is pure manipulation,” he continued.
“They make you feel like they care about you, that they’ve got your back, that you’re family,” he said. “But all they do is use you so they don’t have to get their hands dirty.”
And after the second time a rival gang member tried killing his mom, Rodriguez finally realized that he’d become involved with “the wrong family,” he said.
“I have done a lot of bad things and mixed with a lot of bad people,” he admitted, noting that his mom’s would-be assailant was ultimately arrested. “I’m just grateful God looked out for me and my family.”
After breaking away from the streets in 2012, Rodriguez landed a job at Robert Wood Johnson as a hospital housekeeper.
A year later, he completed training to become an ICU patient attendant.
Former gang member Enrique Rodriguez is going viral for serenading critically ill hospital patients with gospel songs.
Rodriguez is going viral for serenading critically ill hospital patients with gospel songs.
And while caring for the sick, Rodriguez discovered his God-given musical talents. So he taught himself to play the piano and guitar.
“Jesus put us on this Earth to help people, to love people and to preach the gospel,” the self-educated soloist said on TikTok.
Now — whenever he’s not busy working as a hospital phlebotomist, ferrying COVID-19 and blood samples from different laboratories — Rodriguez conducts bedside performances for those in need.
And despite some pushback from hospital executives who’ve told him he can’t “sing songs of Jesus or pray with your patients,” Rodriguez refuses to mute his ministry.
“Jesus told me, ‘Use your voice to love others and bring joy and peace,’ ” he said. “So [as] long as there’s air in my lungs, I’ll do just that.”