Homeless ex-Marine went viral after playing the piano – now he’s getting a makeover

August 16, 2017 10:32 am Last Updated: November 5, 2017 12:44 pm

For an ex-marine man whose life was progressing in a prolific way, with a handsome, smart young son and a beautiful wife, life took the most an expected turn and really knocked him down.

Donald Gould is a man of character who has served in the disciplined forces. But through a series of sorrowful events, he was left with nothing to his name but his piano skills that no one knew about.

Gould ended up on the streets of Sarasota, Florida, where substance abuse and hopelessness took the better part of his life—he lived a dejected lifestyle and survived on begging for food and shelter.

Little did he know that actually, there is joy in every sorrow and sunshine in every impossible moment of life.

Upon stumbling on a piano in the streets of Sarasota, Gould decided to sit down and give the lonely piano some company. Without knowledge that people were watching, he was completely lost in his own little world of music without pain and sorrow.

But with every key of the piano he touched, he was attracting more viewers.

Gould did not know it at the time, but one of these viewers was filming his amazing performance to put onto Facebook. In an instant, Gould had become and internet sensation.

Who was this dirty, unkempt homeless man who played so beautifully?


People wanted to know—and people wanted to help.

Gould was offered a complete makeover, and the chance to perform a a paid concert at a high end restaurant.

He got a new set of clothes, and his first shave in 18 months.

The transformation was amazing.

For Gould, it was more than a concert and a change of clothes—he felt a renewed sense of worth.

“I got a lot of new respect out of here today, I feel pretty confident I can do it, as long as I keep myself together,” he said.

Prior to this Gould had contemplated ending his life numerous times, because he felt too weak to start all over again. He was too embarrassed to face his son, and too helpless to even ask for help.

But with his new perspective on life, Gould did not only have a door open for him, it swung wide open with unlimited opportunities. He went on to perform at national events like a televised NFL game, and was welcomed onto talk shows like Jimmy Fallon.

“Not in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined a moment like this happening,” he said.

Gould knows now that dreams do come true. He knows better how precious life is. Even when the most precious thing was taken away from his life, he kept on fighting every single day, until now, 15 years later, when he finally gathered the courage to face his son.

His son, Donny, was now 18, and had just graduated high school. He was adopted by a loving couple in Michigan at age 5.

When the family saw Gould’s viral video, they were saddened and wanted to reach out to Gould. They also showed Donny the video, and explained who the man was.

They learned that Gould had gotten a complete transformation and was going into rehab, and they wanted to meet him when he got out.

“I want to help him clean his act up,” Donny said. He wanted to help his biological father find his feet.

Sometimes life beats you down to your lowest moment when there is little or no hope, only to offer you a second golden chance to rewrite a new story and correct all the wrongs.

He is now celebrated as an emerging pianist, which proves to all of us that really sometimes, we just need to look deep within us and get in touch with our divine source where all wisdom lies.

It’s at that point that life challenges can not be bigger than ourselves nor than our dreams, but we must seek to get in touch with our spirit in order to bounce back to life.

“I’m just lucky and blessed that these opportunities are somehow out of the blue coming my way. When the rubber hits the road, I’ve got to make the right decision,” he said.