Jose Antonio is a 55-year-old man from Palma de Mallorca, Spain. His life spiraled downhill after he fell into severe depression and lost his job as an electrician—then it was difficult to get back to work.
Without enough money, Jose became homeless and lived on the streets of Palma de Mallorca—for a long 25 years.
Jose tried his best to battle his mental illness and make a living—but his depression held him back. All he could find was work as an unlicensed car parking attendant.
The homeless man was hoping to save some money through this job and be able to rent a place to live.
However, his meager income was not enough to get him off the streets. He was dispirited and slovenly.
But then life turned a tide.
Jose got to know Salva Garcia, a frequent customer at the car lot. Salva is the owner of La Salvajeria hair salon.
The stylist told Jose that he wanted to help and give him a free makeover. Jose refused at first.
He changed his mind when he realized he could improve his chance of better employment.
Jose stepped into the Salon and went through a huge transformation! The entire process was recorded into a short film titled “El Espíritu de la Plaza” (The Spirit of the Square).
Before the stylists began their work, Jose made a request to the cameraman: “Leave the doors over the mirror open for the moment so I can see myself for the last time like this.
“Then close them to see if when they open again, it’s as if something else really opened up in my life, like a symbol.”
And so Jose underwent his make-over.
They started with the hair. The barber pinned up Jose’s long white hair, cut it short and styled it. Next they trimmed his beard, and dyed his hair and beard dark brown for a younger look. Lastly they plucked his excess eyebrows, leaving them neat and well shaped.
After the grooming, they provided Jose with a stylish outfit. A long sleeved button-down white shirt, red trousers, and a pair of grey sneakers. Then came the final revelation as they uncovered the mirror.
Jose got to see his new appearance for the first time!
Jose was in complete shock!
“Oh my God, I don’t recognize myself,” he said as he stroked his beard. “I’m hallucinating, it’s really me!”
“Are you excited?” the salon staff asked.
“The truth is I am!” Jose said, stunned at his transformation. He couldn’t believe it was himself. “No one will recognize me. I assure you the whole neighborhood will not recognize me!”
Jose burst into tears.
The salon stylists handed him a pair of shades to complete the look.
Jose then stepped out of the salon, eager to hit the neighborhood’s usual spots and test if he could be recognized by his acquaintances.
The new man walked around town triumphantly, leaving his past behind—with confidence and grace.
After those long years of depression, he finally found happiness again!
Some passersby and restaurant waitresses recognized him, cheered and shook hands with Jose.
“No! Josette?” one man in motorcycle remarked in disbelief. The locals were astounded seeing the new Jose before them.
“Where’s your Ferrari?” another one asked enthusiastically.
Contented, Jose proceeded to a nearby bar and ordered a beer from a familiar waiter. The waiter served him and left.
Jose later asked him, “Don’t you recognize me?”
The waiter gave a long thought, then exclaimed, “I do know you now!”
Jose smiled with satisfaction, finished his drink and continued to walk about town.
He felt like a million dollars.
His awesome look captured the attention of some women. One hugged him and told him she never imagined him in this stunning new look!
Seeing his positive change, everyone in town is happy for Jose as he is for himself.
“Very, very handsome,” said one woman.
Film producer Dr Filmgood created Jose’s transformation video. It was posted to Facebook on March 14, 2017, during the third birthday of the salon. The video went viral and gained 2.3 million views and 28.5k shares!
Jose’s inspiring story captured the attention of an anonymous company, which decided to support Jose financially until he gained secure employment.
“It wasn’t just a change of look. It changed my life. What I want now is a proper job,” Jose said, according to The Mirror.
With the company’s help, Jose moved into a flat and looked for work.
A small kindness goes a long way. Jose was so grateful for Salva’s altruistic assistance. The former down-and-out can finally say goodbye to his past years of seemingly endless despair on the streets.
Hello to the start of a new, bright chapter of his life!