People have often asked me why I am so hooked on trying to help homeless people, especially those who most often sleep on the streets.
Mainly it’s because I just can’t stand to see people, most with staggering levels of disabilities, sleeping on the streets of America. To be honest, though, part of the reason is that it’s never boring.
It’s kind of like Forrest Gump’s “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” What I do know is that no matter what the men and women look like, no matter how filthy, ragged, drunk, high, or psychotic they may be, there’s a person under there who needs help. That’s why I was so intrigued with the article that Shannon, my good friend (and webmaster/tech support genius) sent to me. Well written, complete with lots of photos and videos, posted by “Stella” on Bored Panda’s website, it had already gone viral and rightly so.
The article read “Homeless Man’s Unbelievable Transformation into “Hipster” Makes Him Burst into Tears.” Per the article, Jose Antonio had lived on the streets for 25 years. With his long, tangled, dirty white hair and beard that appeared not to have been washed, trimmed, or even combed for years, he was a fixture in the neighborhood. Nevertheless, none of the locals really knew who he was and he’d apparently forgotten who he used to be until a local salon owner invited him to come in and get cleaned up. Nobody was more surprised than Jose with the outcome and none came close to being as happy as he was. He hadn’t wanted to see what he’d look like until they’d finished with him and when they did and he looked into the mirror, he cried. “My God, is this me?” It was.
Underneath the grime that goes hand-in-hand with living on the streets was the man he’d been before whatever happened to take away his ability or desire to take care of himself had stolen a quarter of a century of his life. (The dark brown hair dye intended to help him get a job and some “spiffy” new clothes were a major part of his new look.) The joy and accolades of the people who’d been seeing him sitting on the corner or who’d given him money for helping them park their cars made him even more excited. “It wasn’t just a change of look. It changed my life,” he told reporters. But this isn’t the end of his story. It never is. At last report, “Jose is now receiving financial assistance from an unnamed company and is off the streets.”
If this can happen in Palma, Spain (and it did), it can, and often does happen in cities in America where one person who understands that “there’s a person under there” goes the extra mile to help them find themselves.