They say the clothes do not make the man. But are we sure about that? A homeless man makeover might seem like such a trite thing until you see what a difference it can make. Known as the Spirit of the Square (El Espiritu de la plaza), Jose Antonio has been homeless for 25 years and is well known to the locals in Mallorca. He earns a bit of a living parking cars, but is mostly destitute.
He tells a tale that is all too common with homeless people: a bout of depression, an inability to cope, and they find themselves on the streets. Jose certainly seems to have found coping mechanisms and his own inner strength and peace, but he realises that he could be so much more than a casual parking attendant. He says without hesitation that he loves himself – a true sign of inner peace; but he does not love his life.
So what difference can a haircut make? Jose asks that the final result not be shown to him till the very end. And what a result it is. He is overcome with emotion and tears as years are taken off him; the cloak of burden and desolation lifted. He cannot recognise himself and is certain that others will not either.
His smile, his speech, his walk as he crosses the square and reintroduces himself to people who’ve known him for years are miracles. It is a miracle to watch this man come alive.
La Salvajera offered the makeover to Jose as part of their third anniversary and Dr Filmgood created the video to celebrate the re-birthing of a man:
But what next?
What happens to a man who has lived outdoors for a quarter of a century? Can he unlearn and relearn certain habits? Or was this just a one-off to assuage our guilt and our souls? Well, it seems not. In response to whether the organisers of this makeover had any plans for Jose Antonio, the Dr Filmgood Audiovisual Studio had this to say:
As robust as that response is, one thing sticks out: they gave him an identity. Having worked with homeless people before, I know that this can be one of the most debilitating aspects of trying to get back on your feet. Without a form of identity, you just slip through the cracks and the downward spiral continues. This feat alone is worth its weight in gold.
This is our Sunday miracle – for this Sunday and all the others that will follow it this year. And we hope it lifted you too.
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