Homeless with an overgrown beard and dirty-looking hair, this Brazilian man stumbled into a barber shop. The owner decided to give him a free shave, not knowing that two days later his act of kindness would result in the discovery of some amazing yet shocking truths.
The moment that this dirty homeless man walked into a barber shop in Guyana, Brazil, in 2020, an eerie silence fell over the place. Everybody was waiting for the owner of Purdue to get rid of the dirty old man. To their great surprise, Alessandro Lobo did the opposite. He had noticed the homeless man in front of the shop many times before, picking up cans to sell in an attempt to make a living. This was the first time ever that he had been bold enough to enter his shop.
The first natural reaction of the staff was to ask the man if he was hungry and wanted something to eat. To their absolute astonishment, the man declined their kind offer. He was simply looking for the chance to trim his beard. If they could issue him with an old razor, he would be content and after the streets again.
The shop owner could have reacted in many ways. He could have shown the dirty old man the door or given him an old razor and sent him on his way. Fortunately for this 45-year-old homeless man, Alessandro had something completely different in mind. With the help of his staff, they decided to give him a complete makeover. It was clear that this man had not seen a bath in a while. His beard and mustache were long and untamed, not to even mention the hair on his head. His clothes were extremely filthy and in a terrible state of deterioration. It was time to go all the way and give this man a new lease on life.
For a person that has grown accustomed to sleeping on the cold cement and in alleyways, the comfort of the shaving chair must have been a moment to savor. He tried not to show his emotions, but it had been a long time since anybody had treated him with such kindness. Moreover, he was treated with dignity and respect, something he had almost forgotten even existed in this harsh world.
At once, Joao lived an ordinary life. Three years earlier, some overwhelming circumstances had forced him to give up all comforts and sleep in the streets. People saw him as a nuisance and avoided him at all costs. But for the first time in years, someone was finally seeing him as a human being.
As the dark locks of his untamed hair were falling to the ground, a handsome man started emerging from the shadows of his untamed physique. With great care and precision, Alessandro cut Joao’s hair into a trendy hairstyle. Then, the trimming and shaving of his beard and mustache followed. His skin and hair were exposed daily to the harsh elements, so the beauty products were seeping into his skin like water on a dry riverbed.
Joao did not have the luxury of taking care of himself in a manner that would allow him some dignity. However, that morning there was a dedicated team of people at his disposal, each doing their part to make this an unforgettable day for the poor man. The whole pampering session took about two hours. Finally, Alessandro threw in some new clothes to finish the makeover.
Joao was going to leave the shop with three new shirts, a pair of pants, a stylish jacket, and a new pair of shoes. He was a man of very few words and hardly said anything while the transformation was taking place. When everything was done, he earnestly thanked the staff, but the expression on his face and the thankfulness in his eyes spoke much clearer than any words that could be uttered.
All the time, the staff was taking pictures of the unbelievable transformation that was taking place in front of their eyes. Although this act of kindness wasn’t done to promote their shop, the owner still thought it appropriate to share this transformation journey within the walls of Purdue with the general public. Very few people would have been able to believe that the before and after photographs of Joao were of one and the same man. So incredible this transformation turned out to be.
As it was near Christmas, which is often also referred to as the season of goodwill, Alessandro paired the pictures with a call for help, urging his fellow citizens to take care of one another. But what was about to happen is almost too unbelievable to be true.
The pictures of Joao Cuello Guimarius quickly went viral on the internet. Many people commented on how incredibly generous Alessandro Lobo was, while others were amazed at how handsome and well-groomed this man looked. Some even said that he could have been a movie star with such strong facial features.
But there was one family in particular that was completely shocked when they saw the images of this man. Two days after posting the makeover images on social media, Alessandro Lobo got a surprising call. On the other side of the line was a woman claiming that she knew this man from more than a decade ago. She decided not to share her entire story over the telephone, traveled to Guyana with a number of old photographs to prove that the owner of the shop. She was telling the truth.
On December 16 of that year, she knocked on the shop’s door with a younger woman in tow, whom she introduced as her daughter. Alessandro and the mysterious women started roaming the streets of Guyana to try and find Joao. After the makeover, he still did not have a permanent address or a telephone number where he could be contacted. The only way to find him was to go look for him. Everybody hoped that he had remained in the vicinity of the Purdue shop, as it would increase the chances of finding him quickly.
While they walked, the older woman introduced herself as Joao’s mother and explained that her son had disappeared about 10 years earlier. The family had searched for him daily. But as time passed, all they could do was presume that he was dead. Guyana was pretty far from their hometown, and as he’d only been there for three years, nobody knew what he’d done in the first seven years since his disappearance.
The police had never found him, and even though they had never completely stopped looking, they had resigned to the fact that they would never see him again. However, they had never fully accepted his death as a fact either, and when they had seen him on the internet, time had stood still.
The woman had instantly recognized her son despite the changes in his face and body caused by time and years of homelessness. He was still the handsome man she had once raised, and from the pictures she showed Alessandro that day, it was clear that this had once been a happy family. After 10 years, they could finally hope to see him again.
When the family finally found Joao in one of the streets, the reunion was highly emotional for everyone involved. With tears in their eyes, the two women embraced the man they thought they had lost so long before. Finally, the family could make up for lost time or so everybody thought.
What was about to happen was yet another twist in this strange and bizarre tale. Although his sister immediately wanted to take him home with her, Joao opted not to go with them. He had become so accustomed to living on the streets that he now felt free and unrestricted rather than scared or uncomfortable.
He had found himself in the narrow alleys of Guyana, and even though he didn’t have a roof over his head, that’s where he felt most at home. However, at least now he knew that he still had a family that deeply cared for him.
His mother and sister spent the entire day with him before leaving with the promise of coming back to visit soon. They thanked Alessandro profusely for the Christmas miracle he had gifted them and left Guyana feeling happy and whole for the first time in 10 years.
The staff of Purdue and especially Alessandro Lobo were happy to have been instrumental in the reunification of this family. This story became a beacon of hope during a time when the world was grappling with a lot of losses for loved ones around the globe. The story might not have ended the way some of us expected, but for Joao’s family, it was as if their lost son had risen from the dead. What a shocking twist!
Do you think this act of kindness has truly made a difference in Joao’s life? Why do you think this homeless man preferred to stay on the streets instead of going home with his family? Tell us in the comments below. Thank you for watching, and see you next time.