78° F
Red Bluff
80° F
79° F

Homeless man in dumpster: 'I felt trapped'

Published On: Feb 12 2014 09:41:23 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 12 2014 11:56:41 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

A Redding homeless man is speaking out after he says he felt locked in a dumpster.

Josh Ambriz said it's important he share his story to tell others to be compassionate when they see someone in need.

The story begins on a rainy Saturday morning.

16-year-old Jacob Cook was at the Taco Bell in downtown Redding when he said he saw an employee receive orders to lock a man in a dumpster after the employee reported seeing a man sleeping inside.

Cook said he could hear banging from inside the dumpster and voiced his concerns to the manager of the restaurant.

According to Darin Hailey, Taco Bell's manager, Ambriz was never locked inside the dumpster and he could've left whenever he wanted.

He said for the safety of his employees and customers it's protocol to not deal with people in dumpsters and call police.

On Monday Cook spoke to KRCR News Channel Seven and voiced his concerns about the issue, calling it "inhumane."

After seeing the story run on KRCR News Channel Seven Ambriz was able to get back in contact with Cook and the two have formed a friendship.

On Wednesday Ambriz and Cook sat side by side, sharing their story.

"It was cold and wet in there and all I wanted was for someone to help me," explained Ambriz.  "Just help me put a smile on my face and that's exactly what he did," said Ambriz as he looked over at Cook.

Ambriz said he had never slept in a dumpster before but he was sick, he later learned he has pneumonia and an ear infection and was running a fever. 

"I saw the cardboard dumpster, it was low, I knew that they had just dumped it so I got in there."

Ambriz said at one point he heard an employee approach, thinking it was help but it wasn't.

He said he felt helpless.

"I had been banging for it probably was a couple hours."

Ambriz said he tried to yell for help but had lost his voice.

"It was almost gone."

He said he felt locked inside.

"I'm a grown man but I was sick and it hurt, you know what I mean? It hurt to be in there."

When police arrived and he finally climbed out of the dumpster Cook was there to help him.

Workers at Dutch Brothers heard their story and gave them free coffee, the two got something to eat and began talking.

Cook is a junior at Liberty Christian High School and learned Ambriz was a student there as well.

" I [talked] to him about our different experiences, you know growing up, he basically had the same high school experience as me," said Cook.

Ambriz said he is amazed by all the help he has received.

He's been homeless for the past three years or so.

Cook gave him $35 for a pair of shoes and later that day workers at Dutch Brothers took him to a motel where he could stay for the night.

Ambriz said he has now gotten back in contact with his family, he's staying at the Good News Rescue Mission and he's looking to the future.

He wants to get a job and he's thankful for the help.

"I mean it's hard, it's hard without help from people like these."

In the wake of the pain he hopes his story will be a driving force to take a step back from their every day lives and help others.

"I think that you need to help your fellow man, because it comes around and it helps you and I think that's what we need, we need more people like him helping people instead of cutting them down."