This Formerly Homeless Man’s Makeover Will Make You Sob

Via YouTube


If you have three minutes to spare and a good place to quietly sob all over yourself, watch this timelapse video of a homeless veteran’s haircut. He’s getting back on his feet and he’s getting help and he kind of looks like Bryan Cranston and it’ll tear your heart to shreds.

The video features Jim Wolf, a formerly homeless US Army vet, undergoing a physical transformation to coincide with his new lease on life. With the help of a professional salon, one super cool-sounding nonprofit organization gave Wolf a full makeover: brow grooming, cut and color, concealer, new suit. Just warning, though: it’s scientifically impossible to maintain your dignity at the end. I’ve now watched Wolf recognizes himself in the mirror after the transformation six times, and I haven’t stopped welling up.

The people behind the video, Dégagé Ministries, seem to rock. The nonprofit provides aid and shelter to people dealing with poverty, abuse, addiction, and unemployment. They have a hygiene facility, an open-door shelter for women, and a public food pantry. According to the Dégagé website, they believe that “there is a significant difference in a person’s likelihood of success if they have someone to walk alongside them during a crisis or through a transition.” Totally badass.

Also, they’re pretty skilled in the art of the viral video. It took less than three minutes for me to fall in love with Wolf, and now I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to make him a grilled cheese sandwich. Thanks for the inspring work, Dégagé. All the luck in the world to Jim Wolf.

Via Buzzfeed

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    • Julia Sonenshein

      Aww he seems so happy!

    • Anonachocolatemousse

      You know, I knew I was going to cry when I read the headline, but i was like nah, I’ll be cool. NOT COOL, so many tears. Especially at the end, the fact that he’s taking control of his life again. I have several family members that are vets and they’ve been blessed enough to have a great family support system. I can’t imagine what it would be like to know if my uncle or cousins were homeless.

    • Leanne Flynn

      Phenomenal! They sure do violate the “anonymous” part of AA though. Too much of that going around. Beautiful to see his smile there. No doubt about that!

      • Samantha

        How does the anonymity work in AA? If he gave permission for this video and wanted it released that he’s using their program to find sobriety, that’s okay as long as he’s not outing anyone else in his group, right? Or are you supposed to keep it quiet that you’re in the program at all?

      • Glenda

        I see no violation of anonymity, as the only person whose identity was disclosed was one who gave his consent for disclosure.

      • AA Person

        They should have opted for a “he is attending a 12-step recovery program for the first time”, as there are many

        Within AA we have a 12 traditions in addition to the 12 steps, anonymity is a part (arguably the most important part) of the 12 traditions (for the rest read here )

        11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press,radio and films.

        Usually it’s fine if someone wants to tell their friends, family, people they run into or w/e – But this video would count as press/films, and so it violates the 11th tradition of anonymity – However, this vet had no way of knowing this since he’s never attended the meetings, nor did the film-makers seem to be familiar with this either.

        Hope that clears things up!

      • Samantha

        It does. Thank you!

    • Char

      So much dust in here right now, guys.

    • Samantha

      I wasn’t going to watch it at my desk, and then I couldn’t resist, and now my face is all wet.

    • disqus_Gcxg7NOuQs

      Best wishes to this man and to all vets out there. As a country, we have way too many vets who are unemployed, homeless and/or have physical and mental injuries that are not being treated. It is a black mark on the country.

      Seeing organizations like this work to help veterans, even one at a time, is a beautiful thing.

    • Alexander Wayland-James

      you probably shouldn’t have warned me about the tears because the first thing I did when the video started was imagine him with a good haircut. There’s hardly a man out there who wouldn’t look good properly fed, groomed and in a nice suit. Yes, there was a surprise right before he put on the shirt where I was like “wow, that could be any one of my friends’ fathers” but it just speaks to our superficial nature that we view him with better qualities after a makeover — he was a good man when he served, he was a good man when he was on the street dealing with his issues alone, and he was a good man when they found him. You can see it from beginning to end in his eyes, he wasn’t lazy, or stupid or prideful… he was a man beaten down by life, tired and left without purpose. And there are many out there like him, who go through hardship alone, who can be a great leader tomorrow if somebody would give him a purpose.

      I hope I don’t come off as dour, I simply had an opinion that was not yet represented and so I wanted it out there.

      • Me

        Alexander Wayland-James, you certainly have a way with words. I was moved, beyond moved at the video. I immediately thought of what I could, what I have done, was it enough and so and so forth. I scrolled down to read the comments and your comment was the first. I read it and immediately was moved to a different mood. Why do I need to see a man dressed well to see his beauty, or be provoked to action? How can this be changed in me. You took an outward woe is him, and made me shine the light inward, woe is me. A view from a different lens. Thank you.

      • Cait

        Well said, I concur.

      • nero

        it’s not ABOUT us. it’s about him. we do not see him better because he looks better, he sees himself better because he looks better. it goes both ways. it is easy to take ‘feeling like a human being’ for granted when you sit at your computer pondering the superficiality of society. it is much harder to take it for granted when you are cold and damp and ill-shaven and your hair sits on your head like a crouching animal and you’re hungry and you have no-where to live and no money to spend on improving yourself and no-one will give you a job because you’re filthy and you smell like the booze that sits in your system like a ghost long after your blood alcohol reached 0 simply because it is the only thing your body cares about any more, no matter what your mind says.

        they are not demonstrating to US that he is still a human being, they are demonstrating to HIM that he is still a human being.

      • nero

        the punchline of the video is not ‘look how good he looks with a haircut’ the punchline of the video is when he recognizes himself in the mirror and is overcome with emotion because someone reminded him that he was still worth something.

    • Jesse Weaver

      Is he now working?

    • bbarr

      It was just a makeover. Relax.

    • Ken Kott

      Awesome, I hope he is still doing OK?

    • Timma AhWang

      That was soo Beautiful! Thank you Dégagé Ministries! God bless you all! <3

    • Marcus Hart

      He looks like ron howard

    • Lisa

      I couldn’t get over his soulful eyes.

    • JG

      Having read the article, I expected to see more of a reaction. Impressive that he is now gaining ground in getting his life back though. I am glad he has the opportunity:)

    • F. Clark

      Donate, donate…pay it forward! This was moving in so many ways. A good man getting better. God bless our vets.

    • Bigg

      If this video affected you all that much, I’ll let you pay one of my friends to give me a makeover once a month while you watch and emotionally masturbate too.
      Remember, frosted tips are the cure for homelessness.
      Give. Me. A. Break.

      • -_-

        a person’s outlook on life and self esteem can be greatly altered if they like what they see in the mirror. if he’d continued to look at himself in the way he was, obviously disheveled and not taken care of he wouldn’t have motivation. this may seem small and stupid but it can help tremendously. you shouldn’t oversimplify this because it’s superficial. Give me a break.

    • Brieanna

      This is beautiful! i love it all of it. it makes me happy to know there are people out there who truly care for others. no1 would ever guess he was homeless lol i hope and wish great success for him and this organization. keep up the good work!!!

    • kj

      Just the words “Homeless vet” make me sick. The work that this organization is doing is great and all, but this kind of support really ought to be the GOVERNMENT’S responsiblity. Private citizens should not have to pony up $$ to make sure our vets are doing ok.

      • Kyle

        You realize private citizens fund the Government too right?

      • kj

        …what’s your point? Perhaps “private citizen” was a poor choice of words. My point is that vet support should be built into the same system as the system that sends soldiers to war. It should not be someone’s choice as to whether they are going to donate to supporting vets. Proper care of veterans should be a military expense, just like buying tanks and ammo and all that.

    • The Open Door

      Where I come from, you don’t cut a client’s hair without a proper drape or with dry hair unless their texture is super-curly. And why scissor cut the back and sides? She’d get a cleaner, more polished finish with trimmers (with multiple guards) followed by scissors for fine-tuning. He looked a lot better after regardless.