A Christian actor who was savagely beaten and left for dead on a sidewalk in New York City nearly 20 years ago is alive and well and making a comeback.
Rodney Coe was just starting his stage career in 2000 after graduating from college when three men attacked him from behind while he was on his way home. One of them smashed his head with a metal baseball bat, damaging both his face and his memory, according to Christian Cinema.com.
"At around 2 a.m., I'm coming home and hear footsteps behind me and cracked in the head with a baseball bat," Coe recalled.
He said the muggers took his wallet and then left him bleeding on the pavement, "the side of my face messed up, and brain damage."
Coe said he was rescued by an elderly woman, a neighbor who found him sitting on the floor outside the apartment, and she called for help.
After he underwent surgery on his face and jaw, Coe retreated to his apartment and cut off all communication with the outside world. The trauma he suffered made him unable to speak for weeks.
The injury also affected his mental process, leaving him unable to make even the simplest of decisions, like what to drink or how much.
He eventually found work stuffing popcorn buckets at a local movie theater.
"I'd gone from working in the best theaters to barely getting a job in a movie theater," he recalled.
"After that mugging ... I couldn't complete a full sentence — and let me tell you: memorizing lines was out of the question," he said in a recent video posted on YouTube.
As he wallowed in misery, he turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain.
But as he tried to eke out a living with his limited faculties, the actor said he started discovering God more deeply and profoundly, according to Faithwire.
Eventually, he said his perspective turned from seeing God as a Lord who makes bad things happen to a God who loves every person immeasurably.
"I (realized I) had given my life to Him, but I hadn't loved Him yet," he said, as quoted by Faithwire.
From the moment he discovered God, he stopped drinking and doing drugs.
He eventually regained his full mental capacity, allowing him to return to the theater.
Just like his real life, his latest acting stint is a story of faith as Coe stars in Sight & Sound's production of "Jonah" about the biblical prophet who famously runs away from God's calling.