One homeless man spent 35 years on the streets before a stranger stepped in to completely change his fortune.

You never know what a person has been through in life, or what circumstances may have brought them to their current situation. That’s why it’s always important to look beyond first impressions if you want to practice kindness. You never know what kind of motivational experiences you may come across as a result.

How Street Poetry and a Chance Encounter Led to an Inspirational Friendship

For 35 years, a man named Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho lived on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He sat in the same spot every single day, scribbling notes and keeping to himself. His hair had grown long and he had an otherwise unkempt appearance, making him a recognizable figure among the locals.

One day in 2011, however, everything changed. A woman named Shalla Monteiro walked by and was interested in learning more about Sobrinho’s story. She befriended the man and learned the notes he had been scribbling was actually poetry. As it turns out, he had big dreams of sharing his written words with the rest of the world.

I felt I needed to do something.

Shalla Monteiro

“Raimundo always wanted to publish a book of his poems, and as a person who lived in the streets, [this] became an impossible dream,” Monteiro told The Huffington Post.

One day, Sobrinho finally shared one of his poems with Monteiro and she was touched. She posted the piece on Facebook for people to read and got an overwhelming response. Eventually, she began an entire page dedicated to the man, which she called Ocondicionado, or “The Conditioned,” which is how he signed each poem.

How a Stranger Helped a Homeless Man Reunite with His Long Lost Brother

The Facebook page grew in popularity, to more than 179,000 followers. Suddenly, people were no longer ignoring the man on the streets, but coming up to him.

“People started to get close to him,” Monteiro told the publication. “To talk to him, to go there, just say, ‘Hey, I saw you. I want to know you. I always wanted to know, but I didn’t have the courage to come and talk.’”

They weren’t the only ones who noticed this special man. His estranged brother also came across the Facebook page. So he reached out to Monteiro and eventually went to see his sibling in person.

“When I arrived, I found a man in the midst of garbage, hairy and unshaved, with no hygiene whatsoever,” he recalled to the publication. “This person was my brother.”

He is not a guest. He is part of the family. With my children and my wife, he is an integral part.

Sobrinho’s brother

He asked Sobrinho to come and live with him, and the family reunited after all those years. “My brothers are still alive. They’re all alive. He was the one missing to complete the emptiness we had,” Sobrinho’s brother added.

After 35 Years, a Homeless Man Realized His Dream of Becoming a Poet

After spending so many years on the streets wishing that others could read his words and thoughts, Sobrinho finally saw success. With the help of his brother, he was able to publish a book of poetry called #Inconditional in December 2015.

Sobrinho was in his 70s when Monteiro showed life-changing kindness, and he was able to live the rest of his days knowing he had finally made his dreams come true.

Unfortunately, Sobrinho passed away in December 2020 at the age of 83. It had been nearly 10 years since he and Monteiro first met, and she updated his health journey with fans. In one post she recalled a conversation the pair had before he was hospitalized, about sharing his story with others.

It is incredibly special to know that during his last years of life, Raimundo had a lot of love.

Shalla Monteiro

“I mentioned the idea of reciting his poetry and posting on his page (because I always recited to him, but never posted) so I asked him what he thought and he replied, ‘what you do will be well done,’” she wrote. “Then I promised him that I would always spread not only his poetry, but his example as a person who is unique and so inspiring,” she continued.

“It is incredibly special to know that during his last years of life, Raimundo had a lot of love from his family and friends – personally and here from this fan page – and received all the affection and welcome he deserved.”

How One Stranger Can Change a Person’s Life

How many people simply walked by Sobrinho every day for years without getting to know the soul within? Not only was this man full of beautiful words, he held inspiration and wisdom that will now live on eternally thanks to the help of one woman.

It’s a great reminder in our own lives to put that old adage, never judge a book by its cover, to good use. So maybe the next time someone seems to take a bad day out on you, ask yourself how you can help them to turn it around instead of being offended.

After all, sometimes it’s the people who are most down on their luck that need the greatest kindness and compassion in their lives.

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