After years of being a homeless man, João Coelho Guimarães was reunited with his family thanks to the generosity of strangers. 45-year-old Guimarães had been a rough sleeper in Goiânia, Brazil for three years now but his family believed that he had been dead for a decade. This situation changed when Guimarães encountered a group of people at a men’s clothing store and barbershop. When the owner and employees at the store saw his state, they offered to clean him up and dress him in clean clothes. Next, they shared his before and after images on their social media accounts for the world to behold the powerful transformation. What they didn’t expect was their post to blow up. According to Daily Mail, Guimarães’ family happened to come across the photo which ultimately helped them track him down.
The business that Guimarães happened to enter that day was reportedly owned by Brazilian country singer Alessandro Lobo. Apparently, he had walked by the men’s clothing store and haircut salon named Padoo several times while picking up cans, but on one particular day in December last year, he decided to step inside. Recalling the day, Lobo told UOL that Guimarães didn’t really ask for too much when he entered the store. “He came and we asked if he was hungry and wanted something to eat. But he refused and asked if we had a razor so he could trim his beard,” he said. “That’s when we had an idea and everyone in the store decided to help in a different way, providing a day of beauty for him.”
Before his transformation, Guimarães had an overgrown beard and mustache, and long, messy hair that desperately needed grooming. Seeing his state, the employees at the shop decided to clean him up and they started by trimming his beard. Next, they styled his hair and completed the grooming session. Lobo was generous enough to hand the man a few pieces of clean clothing as well, including a jacket, three shirts, a pair of pants, and a pair of shoes. While talking about the transformation with Bored Panda, Lobo said, “It took two hours to complete the transformation. The whole team volunteered and everyone did a little, adding up to a surprising result.”
“He is a very shy person and of few words. But we noticed his look of satisfaction and he thanked us very much,” said Lobo, adding that Guimarães looked like a whole different person when the employees were done with the grooming. That’s why Lobo’s team decided to share his handsome pictures with the world. But for the store owner, it was all about the Christmas spirit. “It is Christmas time and the intention was to show that with little we can change someone’s life,” he explained. The magic of Christmas also ended up reuniting the man with his family. “His mother and his sister are coming,” Lobo said at the time. “They already considered him dead because they had not heard from Seu João for over 10 years.”
“They saw the photo and contacted me and, as he has neither a telephone nor a fixed address, tomorrow we will go through the neighborhood to try to find him,” Lobo said on December 16. His team ultimately found Guimarães who then had a tearful reunion with his family. During the unforgettable moment, which was filmed, Guimarães was seen hugging his sister after almost 10 years. Although his sister invited him to stay at her house, Guimarães passed up on the offer. “João is still on the streets. His sister wanted to welcome him and take him home, but he didn’t want to. He said that on the streets, he feels free. That’s why he didn’t want to go home,” revealed Lobo. “We thank God and all of you for making us instruments of this exciting moment. 020 was a year of many losses for loved ones around the world, and in the midst of all this a [relief] for this family,” he wrote on Instagram.