GETTING A HOMELESS MAN HOME
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Thanks to http://threadsociety.com (Brandon, Michael, and Simona) for their help, they made this all possible!
The longer story:
I had been meaning to do some sort of collaboration video with my friend Brandon and find a way to meaningfully cross promote each others brand. He owns an awesome clothing company (http://threadsociety.com - I've worn the clothing in countless videos). With his help and generosity, I got out to New York City so we could do a nice video where we help out the homeless and give away clothing (sweaters, beanies, gloves, etc) to keep them warmer since Winter is coming.
What originally started out as a pretty simple and small concept completely transformed and evolved after we ran into Jaroslav (pronounced: YA-ROH-SLAV). It's really fascinating how people manage to cross paths with one another in these split moments. We could have just as easily not been there at that exact moment and time and day. Decades worth of circumstances in each one of our lives led us to that very moment of meeting.
I approached Jaroslav but he didn't speak any English. It was me, Scout (filming), Brandon, Michael, and Simona (Brandon's girlfriend). We found out he spoke some Russian, luck would have it that Simona spoke Russian. We bring him a cup of coffee (not shown) and speak with him. He explains to us how he ended up in his predicament and how he was robbed. We express we want to help.
So we hop in a cab and get him his own hotel room (a nice one!). We let him shower, bring him some pizza, then ask if he wants to get a haircut / shave. We bring him to a barber shop (Chelsea Hair Studio). Let me just say, I think Jaroslav got a better haircut / shave than anyone of us ever have. Well, I've never even had a shave in a barber shop, but I honestly was a little jealous :). If you're in New York City, def. stop by the Chelsea Hair Studio and ask for Mike - you're going to get an A+ cut and shave.
After that we get Jaroslav back to the hotel. I think it's important to note this, but we offered Jaroslav a beer, and he declined it - stating he doesn't drink. Many people have this notion that the homeless are all drug addicts and alcoholics - but Jaroslav was completely the opposite - I think ANYONE can find themselves with a set of circumstances that lead them to misfortune.
Anyways, the team go out and plan. We struggle a bit because of some visa issues (he did have a hand-written passport that he got from the Czech consulate after he was robbed) but after some research we find the appropriate flight for him to take (we get him on a flight to Prague)
We surprise him back at the hotel and tell him we got him a flight back home (he had expressed to us that he wanted to leave and get home - one of the things I found most inspiring, is he didn't EVER ask us for anything - despite his situation, he was honestly one of the most strong and stoic man I've ever had the opportunity of meeting).
We see a few moments ourselves where he does finally get emotional, but I thought it was more beautiful that we see him entirely composed the entire time and we could see cracks and moments of emotion - versus exuberance and almost exaggerated joy at the smallest thing. I appreciated his resolve.
What we unfortunately didn't get to film this and include it in the video, is he had a small suitcase with some belongings I imagine he acquired while homeless (the sad thing was that the handle wouldn't retract back into the suitcase as most do - it was stuck). As we were leaving the room to head to the airport, he left EVERYTHING behind (he had no luggage). He told us: "Garbage"...
At the airport, we bring him and show him where he had to go and give him $100 for any food or anything he needs to buy (long flight back to Europe). We say goodbye. As we left we noticed he kept looking back at us, with a smile on his face.
Special thanks to:
Mike & Chelsea Hair Studio