Weapons were fired at him and fire bottles thrown on him. London put him to the test harshly and even took away one of his best friends … Eventually, through hard work and much effort, he managed to get where he wanted. In short, this is the story of Sorin Mihalescul, Romanian bodyguard in London.
Read this article in Romanian: Bodyguard în infernul londonez
Sorin left Romania in 2001, bound for Portugal, in search of a better life. He did not find it there, and after 8 months of low living standards and lack of opportunities, he decided to return home. His flight ticket changed his destiny.
"I bought my ticket to Romania with a stopover in London, with the idea of going back home. When I reached London airport in 2002 I was told that I had to wait 6 hours to fly to Bucharest. A woman at customs told me to go somewhere to rest and come back over 6 hours. After I brought in my luggage, which I had to transfer, she let me go. I wandered through the airport a little, then I started to wonder: why not stay? What if God wanted to give me a chance? So I stayed. "
Thus began Sorin's British experience, one of extraordinary efforts seeking adventures and personal fulfilment.
"In the airport, I called some friends who lived there and went to their place. At first it was tough in London. Every morning, together with some friends we sat on Cricklewood Broadway, the place where, even now, from day to day, people come to offer a few days of employment. Faith smiled upon me one day when an Irish man came and offered me a job. For 4 years I worked for him for various contracts with Thames Water."
At the same time, a friend found him a job at a nightclub. A security guard position in a notorious district of London at that time, Harlesden. "There was street shooting and almost one murder a week. It was a period full of bad experiences … they fired guns on us, we were sprinkled with petrol and then incendiary bottles were thrown on us … and many other unpleasant things, "says Sorin, who has trained 14 years in Greco-Roman wrestling, and since in London trained in kick boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts).
After four years of hardship, all the efforts and risks he went through turned to his favour. He was promoted over time and after 6 years he became a bodyguard in a club in central London, where the atmosphere was as friendly as possible. He now leads a security team and is responsible for the security of various clubs.
Moreover, "The club owner appreciated me and offered me a job as his driver and personal bodyguard. During the day, wherever he went, in every corner of the world, I was with him," said Sorin.
At that time he provided security to many celebrities, including Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Colin Salmon, Tila Tequila and Verne Troyer. On the other hand, as a Romanian, he does not like to speak too much about his work in security, as when you're at work, "you find yourself constantly in danger, are always threatened, you always deal with people drinking and drug addicts.
"Satisfaction comes at the end of the job, when you have managed to avoid any unpleasant event and you know that, thanks to you, a group of people could enjoy out in a club, spending time without worry."
Joy and regrets
Sorin's new status allowed him to help other Romanians – his greatest joy – but also caused him the greatest regret.
"The biggest satisfaction since I came here was that I could give a helping hand to other Romanians to find a job in the UK, even offering them a place to stay. At the same time, this also caused me the greatest sadness.
"What I regret most is that I brought to England Bogdan Pădureț Gabriel, the young man who was shot last year. Bogdan was like a brother to me, he worked in security like I did and was shot and died because of this work. Now I regret it – I often think that if I had not brought him here, he would still be alive, "says Romanian sadly.
Beyond sad thoughts, Sorin struggles to remain optimistic. He recounts the longing of Romania, his life, best friends from home, his family in the hopes that one day, after many things will change, he will be able to go back to lead a decent life among them.
Until that day comes, Sorin wants to work as long as possible as a bodyguard, specialise and build a career in the field, to reach even higher goals.
By Florin Bratescu