The family had presumed him dead for the past decade and were beyond happy to be reunited with him.
A homeless Brazilian man was reunited with his mother and sister who believed he had been dead for a decade after a local barbershop gave him a haircut, trimmed his beard, and posted photos of his makeover on social media. Forty-five-year-old João Coelho Guimarães had been sleeping rough in Goiânia, Brazil, for three years and used to walk by Padoo — a men's clothing store and barbershop shop — almost every day while picking up cans. One day, he stepped inside and asked the staff if he could borrow a razor from them.
"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," country singer Alessandro Lobo, who owns the shop, told UOL. "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." The shop's staff cleaned him up, cut and styled his hair, and also trimmed his beard and mustache. The store went a step further and gave a set of new clothes to Guimarães, including three shirts, a pair of pants, a jacket, and a new pair of shoes.
"We decided to help him because we saw the extreme need he had. We made friends with him over the past two months. And when he asked us for a razor, we welcomed him and gave him the full experience," Lobo told Bored Panda. "We have some social aid projects, and for us, it is very gratifying to be able to help people, whoever they are. In this time of the pandemic, many people lost loved ones and others were left with financial difficulties. A little help is always welcome in such a difficult time."
"It took two hours to complete the transformation. The whole team volunteered and everyone did a little, adding up to a surprising result," he added. Guimarães had the most heartwarming reaction to his new look, Lobo revealed. "He is a very shy person and has few words. But we could see his look of satisfaction and he thanked us a lot," he said. Thrilled by how much of a difference their two hours of work made, the Padoo team shared before-and-after photos of Guimarães on social media. "It [was] Christmas time and the intention was to show that with a little we can change someone's life. That we have to do good without looking at whom," Lobo explained.
What they didn't anticipate was that Guimarães's images would go viral and eventually reach his family, who had presumed him dead for ten years. "His sister Maria Coelho came in a hurry when she saw the pictures. She lives in Brasília DF and has been waiting for 10 years to hear some news about him. She even thought he was dead," Lobo said. They were also able to capture the heartwarming moment when the long-lost siblings reunited and greeted each other with a hug.
Although Guimarães was glad to have met his family again, he chose not to move back in with his family. "Guimarães 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," Lobo explained. When asked if he knew why Guimarães left his home, Lobo said that he didn't want to ask. "I didn't want to get into the question of why he left home," he said. "He must have his reasons, but our intention was just to give him a little dignity at that moment."