Jose Lopez was separated from his daughters 24 years ago, but went through homelessness, multiple strokes, and a cross-country journey to reunite with them.

Sometimes, when it seems everything in life is stacked against us and we are, ultimately, all alone, we can feel hopeless. This is especially true when we do not have family by our side.

A perfect example is this story of a Florida-based homeless man who had not seen his daughters in more than twenty years. But he just had an emotional reunion that involved crossing the country and finding each other again, all because a kind-hearted police officer took the time to help him.

A family separated

Jose Lopez first lost touch with his then-teenage daughters when he separated from his wife and moved to Florida to be with his mother, CBS New York reports.

Lopez described the years without his daughters as “empty… That’s no way for anybody to feel.”

Years later he was able to track his daughters down and reconnected with them over the phone. They maintained contact for a couple years until, after a series of strokes and health setbacks, Lopez wound up homeless and had lost his memory of his daughters’ phone number.

When he was recovered enough to travel, Lopez set off for New Jersey, determined to reunite with his daughters.

He tearfully explained the motivation behind his long journey: “I had to, I wanted to, I needed to.”

From Florida to Jersey

Lopez set off with a little money he had saved up, but ran into trouble when he arrived in New Jersey — he didn’t know how to reach his daughters.

His fortune was reversed by the good will of NJ-based Crisis Outreach Officer Sean Pfeifer. “Mr. Lopez was intent on finding his family, and I wanted to make sure that I was there to help him with doing that,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer called everyone who could possibly be a family member until he found Lopez’s daughters. He then treated Lopez to a shave and haircut before the big reunion. 

The big reunion

Kristy and Angela Viviani couldn’t believe their ears when they got the call from Pfeifer, even thinking it had to be a scam. When Pfeifer explained that he’d come upon their father, lost but in search of them, they were overjoyed.

When Kristy and Angela finally reunited with their dad, they had their children in tow. Jose was able to meet his grandchildren for the first time and tears were shed all around as they embraced their grandpa for the very first time.

Some things never fade

“I remembered the eyes,” Kristy Vivani said of the moment they were reunited, while her dad exclaimed “My baby! My Kristy! My ballerina!”

The reunion also meant everything to Pfeifer. “To feel their emotion, behind the camera I was tearing up,” he said.

“I’m thinking I’m in heaven,” Lopez said. “I’ve got my two best girls. I got a good friend.”

The story of Jose Lopez, his daughters, and granddaughters is a powerful reminder of the undying power of familial love — and of the attention and care that every person deserves. Without Pfeifer’s aid, Jose may never have found his daughters again.

More powerful reunion stories: