Time For Change
As his chair was turned around and he found himself in front of the mirror, he couldn’t believe his own eyes. The man that was staring back at him was not the same man he had thought himself to be for the past couple of decades. But now here he was, and it was a lot to take in. He had a brand new look, and he knew it would make a big impression on others. But would it be enough to turn his life around?
Ruin In Paradise
When he was a young man, José Antonio never thought he’d ever find himself living on the streets. A resident of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, he used to work as a skilled electrician. But when he was 30 years old, everything changed. A work accident left him incapacitated and unable to do his job. His financial situation began to spiral, and he fell into a deep depression. That’s when things turned really dark for José.
How It Happens
José’s descent into homelessness did not happen overnight. “It’s a long process,” he said. “A depression starts. In a depressed state, your mood is not the most regular. And then you go out onto the streets.” Unable to keep up with his bills, José became homeless. At first, he thought it would be a temporary situation. He made some money parking cars at town squares and other public areas. He thought he could make enough money to find a place to live. But that never came to be.
Life On The Streets
Eventually, José became used to living on the streets. Parking cars and doing odd jobs gave him enough money to buy food and survive on a day-to-day basis. After a few years, he even became a fixture of the Plaza España, where he hung out every day and helped people with their parking. Business owners and workers in the vicinity all came to know him and befriend him, giving him the nickname of ‘Josete.’ Then one day, a man came along who decided to go even further.
Looking Beyond Hair
Josete had been homeless for 25 years, and by now he knew no other life. Then one day, he met Salva García. Salva is the owner of La Salvajería, a hair salon not far from Plaza España. “When we met, I had a studio in the square where he helped park cars,” remembers Salva. “I always joked with him telling him he had to cut off his mane, but he resisted.” But it seems that, after a while, Josete changed his mind.
A Free Haircut
The next time Salva ran into Josete, the homeless man told him he was willing to put himself in Salva’s hands. Salva agreed to cut his hair for free, in exchange for letting him take ‘Before and After’ pictures. Josete agreed. The hair stylist then called a photographer for the project, and while they waited for him to arrive, he invited Josete to a cup of coffee. As they sat together, the old man talked about his past. This gave Salva a new idea.
A Story Worth Telling
“It was clear that his story deservedLa Salvajeria/Dr. Filmgood to be told and that Josete deserved another opportunity to get ahead,” said Salva after hearing Josete’s tale of depression and homelessness. So, instead of just taking pictures, Salva decided to film a short documentary. He hired a production company to interview Josete and film the makeover process. Josete himself seemed glad for the chance to express himself. “I can’t be happy with the life that I have,” he said. But would he be happy with his new look?
Closing And Opening
On the day of the makeover, all mirrors were removed from La Salvajería so that Josete couldn’t see himself until the transformation was complete. There was also a mirror on the other side of a window, which Salva asked Josete if he preferred closed or opened. “Open now, to see myself like this for the last time,” he replied. “Then we close them to see if, when they open again, something else opens up in my life. Like a symbol.” Then the real work began.
Snip Snip Snip
The first thing Salva and his team did was cut Josete’s long, shaggy mane, which had gone down to his shoulders. Then they trimmed his scraggly beard, but they did not shave it entirely. The next step was dying his locks, which had turned grey over the years – now he’d be back to his original brown. Lastly, they shaved his neckline and tweezed his eyebrows. A new Josete was emerging, just waiting for the finishing touches.
Brand New Duds
Salva realized it wasn’t enough to give Josete a new hairstyle. So he purchased a whole new outfit, one that was stylish and youthful, hoping to show the 55-year-old man a glimpse of a different life. Josete put on the white shirt, bright-red pants, and dapper shoes, still not knowing what he would look like. Then he sat again on the stylist’s chair, and Salva opened the window. Josete’s jaw dropped.
A Different Josete
Josete gasped, putting his hands on his face. “This is amazing, dude,” he said under his breath. He stood up, turning in different directions to better look at his new self. “My God! I don’t recognize myself!” Soon he couldn’t hold back the tears. “Are you excited?” Salva asked. “Honestly, yes,” he replied. He was shocked, and he knew he wouldn’t be the only one.
“They’re not going to recognize me, I assure you,” Josete told Salva. “The whole neighborhood, nobody’s going to recognize me.” And he was right. After leaving the salon, he went back to Plaza España, to his usual hangout by the side of a monument. The people who knew him had to look twice before accepting it was really him. Waitresses at nearby restaurants smiled and gave him a thumbs-up, clearly approving of his new look. Others had no idea it was him.
Reintroducing Himself To The World
Josete sat at a bar table in the square and ordered a beer from a waiter he’d spoken to many times before. The waiter brought his drink without acknowledging him, seeming to think he was just a random customer. “Don’t you recognize me?” Josete asked. After realizing who he was speaking to, the waiter said, “You don’t look like you!” But now that he had a brand new look, Salva wanted to give Josete a new life to match it.
Turning His Life Around
With the help of an anonymous donor, Salva was able to secure a room in a shared apartment for Josete to live in. He also enlisted an organization to give him financial assistance and help him find a job. Not only that, Josete was also able to undergo several surgeries to fix his cataracts, which had developed after years of exposure to the elements and a poor diet. His life was truly turning around, and he was extremely grateful.