“Woman walks past homeless man every day. Then he hands her a note revealing his true identity. After seeing him in the same spot every single day, Brazilian woman Shalimontaro decided to start talking to an elderly man she noticed in the street.
After they got acquainted, she learned that he’d been homeless for over three decades. It was after some time she spent talking to him every day that she learned that the man had a secret passion. And that’s when she realized she could actually change his life forever in more ways than one.
Foreign Montero, a graduate from the NYU Stern School of Business, noticed something peculiar about the area she was walking in. Charlotte passed this street frequently, but this time she noticed something that caught her eye and made her want to stop and investigate.
Off the road, there was a patch of grass where a man sat down beneath a tree. He was bent over and looked like he was in deep focus. For some reason, Shawna’s curiosity awakened when she noticed that there was a man sitting on the side of the road. Surrounding him was a tent and some other items which indicated that he was living there.
As she got closer, she could tell that the man looked a bit older and looked like he was scribbling something down. What exactly was he jotting down with such focus and intensity, though? The closer she got to him, the more eager she was to talk to him.
Whether it’s because you’re not sure how to treat them or because you’re nervous to offend them, it can be a little uncomfortable to approach someone who’s living on the street. And it turns out that this particular homeless man was living in the same place, doing the same thing every single day, and yet nobody ever really stopped by to talk to this elderly homeless man. But Shallow looked past that and saw a gentleness to him, and was curious to find out what exactly was he doing with a pen and paper in his hands.
Have you ever spoken to the person next to you on the plane or the bus and discovered that there’s so much more to them than you ever would have expected? The stranger to your left might end up becoming one of the most inspiring people if you take a second to listen to their story.
But Shala loved connecting with people and hearing their stories. She’s the type of person that wasn’t afraid to get to know someone, no matter who they were, whether we’re Big Time celebs, Average Joe’s, or homeless people on the street. At the end of the day, we’re all humans. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to approach someone in an uncomfortable situation.
Shala also had no idea how he would react to her coming up to him, but she figured she’d try anyway. And after building up the courage to talk to this man, she was left almost in tears by their interaction.
Whether it’s a first date or your first day at a new job, it can be intimidating meeting someone for the first time. So imagine how nerve-wracking it must have been for Shala to approach this elderly man living on a street. However, she came with a lighthearted attitude and an open mind to learn about his story and understand what he was doing.
The man’s name was Raymundo Arudo Sobrino, and he had been homeless for over three decades. Now, what she learned next was a true Game Changer. On August 1st, 1938, Raymundo was born in the rural areas of Goyas, Brazil. When he was 23 years old, he left his hometown and traveled over 600 miles to Sao Paulo for work. The young man started out working as a gardener and a bookseller. About 18 years later, unfortunately, Raymundo had become homeless, and ever since then, he sat in the same spot in Sao Paulo. But it wasn’t until 1996 that he would actually make it his Island.
Back in the ’70s, when he was in his early 40s, Raymundo’s happily lost everything and had no other choice but to live on the street. Can you imagine how hard that must have been for him? However, he was still able to find a little bit of light in his dark situation. His passion was writing, and he spent his time writing in the middle of a street nearby, which he called “the island.” He continued this for almost 35 years until he met Shala.
Amazingly enough, Raymundo was more than happy to talk to Shala. He shared his story with her and explained that he enjoys writing, and that’s what he was doing there beneath the trees on the island every single day. “When I saw him for the first time, he gave me one of his poems. From that moment, he started to be a part of my life,” Shala shared in a short documentary video titled “The Conditioned.” But it wouldn’t be until she actually read his work that she would realize that Raymundo’s talent was so much more than that.
Even though artists have the stereotypical reputation for having a big ego, they’re actually very sensitive and usually take their pieces of work to heart. And because of this, whether you’re a painter, musician, or a writer, creatives can be quite secretive with showing their works of art to others. Yet, Raymundo and Shala seem to have an instant connection that was so pure that he felt like he could show her one of his poems. To her surprise, she instantly fell in love with his work and realized that his writing was powerful and meaningful.
The two started talking on a daily basis, and eventually, Raymundo started to feel more comfortable with her and showed her even more pieces of his work that he’d written. His poems brought her to tears, and she enjoyed reading every single word that was written on those direct pieces of paper.
It was then that she realized that this was more than a hobby for Raymundo; he actually always dreamed of publishing a book of his works but clearly couldn’t because of his situation. Shala was absolutely blown away by the sweet, intelligent, and talented elder man. The more she got to know him, the more she read by him, she realized that he wasn’t just a poet; he was a philosopher on top of that as well. And the fact that he wanted to share his work with the world but couldn’t just broke her heart.
Raymundo always wanted to publish a book of his poems, and as a person who lived on the streets, this became an impossible dream. “I felt I needed to do something,” Shala emotionally expressed in the video.
Shala was determined to help get Raymundo’s beautiful poetry out to the world and help him publish his work. But how was she going to do this? Charlotte didn’t work as a publisher, but she did have some experience with business and marketing. So the entrepreneur did some thinking and realized that she can use one of the world’s newest ways to share things – social media. Little did either of them know just how influential this would be for the entire community.
You’d think that being homeless would leave you hopeless, but Raymundo proved to Shala that the two were not interchangeable. Shala opened both a Facebook page and a blog in his honor. She explained his story and uploaded his poems so that people would understand just how inspiring and powerful this man truly was.
Sitting on a wooden stool, dressed in black plastic bags, he spent his time writing on small pieces of paper delicately cut to the same size. All are signed as “the Condition,” Shala wrote on the Condition’s official blog. The 74-year-old man had lived alone alongside a construction site for 19 years. But his world was about to turn upside down.
In the early 2010s, Shala opened a blog and Facebook page for Raymundo’s works. The pages were titled “O Condicionado” (The Condition), the pen name that Raymundo used for signing all of his works. She uploaded his poems to the page, and it became successful in ways they never would have expected. Not only were people liking and following the page, but they started to reach out to Raymundo himself.
What’s amazing is that if Shala had met Raymundo even five years earlier, she probably wouldn’t have been able to help Raymundo. But because of the development of social media and the access to communication throughout the world, Raymundo’s dream was slowly becoming true. Talk about the right place at the right time.
Can you imagine what the talented man must have felt at this point? But what happened next was really about to shock everyone. At this point, Shala and Raymundo had befriended each other. Shala would come visit him almost daily and enjoyed exchanging words with him and reading something new he shared with her. And after opening the Facebook page, so many people were just as touched as she was. But it turns out that people weren’t just inspired by Raymundo’s beautiful and poetic words. They were just as curious as Shala was about him as a person. That’s when the two of them really started to see how much the posts and uploads were affecting the community around them.
After Raymundo’s social media accounts were getting more and more traction, he also started to get more visitors in person. His poetry moved and inspired people so much that they actually decided to approach him in person on the island. Shala mentioned in the video, “People started to get close to him, to talk to him, to go there just to 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.’ How heartwarming! It’s always hard to actually plan out your life since life always seems to have a plan of its own with challenges that you can’t always prepare for. However, having goals and dreams is something that’s crucial and can give you a positive light and purpose to keep on going.
Raymundo felt like his dream was impossible to achieve, and yet he never stopped writing. And before he knew it, his dreams were happening in ways that he never could have planned or predicted. But there was still one more surprise to this wonderful story. As we mentioned, the gentle, sweet elder man’s words were powerful and heavy, yet inspiring and beautiful. There’s no doubt that he’d been through a lot, and being in his 70s meant that he sure had a lot of wisdom, whether he had a home or not.
While he was living on the island in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Raymundo wrote something very special in 2012 after meeting Shala: “Hope is the heaviest weight a man can carry. It is the bane of the idealist – The Condition.” It wasn’t necessarily a published book, but Shala was able to publish Raymundo’s works so that the world could experience his beautiful poetry.
And because of that, and the fact that Shala’s connection with him was just as touching, others were inspired to interact with Raymundo too. Many people started to come by and talk to him, but there was one special person that had been waiting to talk to Raymundo for many years. And thanks to Shala, this person finally had the chance to meet him.
Shala was happy to help Raymundo and was over the moon by the fact that she could manage a Facebook page for him. She would receive messages all the time from fans from all around who admired and appreciated his work. However, one day Shala received a message from someone unbelievable. Why exactly? Because that person was someone from Raymundo’s past. Shala stated in the video that while she was checking the page’s inbox one day, she got a message from his brother. Can you believe it?
Soon after creating the Facebook page, Shala received a Facebook message from someone she never would have expected – one of Raymundo’s long-lost brothers. It turns out that Raymundo hadn’t been in touch with his family all these years, which is probably why he’d been alone and homeless this whole time too. Can you imagine how emotional this must have been for them all? After reaching out to Shala, Raymundo’s brother asked if it would be possible to meet with him, and of course, they arranged it. Who would have thought that all of this would have happened?
Raymundo was a man living alone on the streets for almost two decades before someone was able to help him in ways that he didn’t even know were possible. Not only did she help him share his work with the world, but it turns out she helped him reunite with his family. But how exactly did the reunion go? Surely this would be an incredibly emotional situation for all parties.
Can you imagine finding your long-lost brother after all these years via a Facebook page? This is definitely social media at its best. Still, though, there’s no way to really explain what will happen when you meet someone for the first time, just like when Shala approached Raymundo for the first time.
But one thing was for sure, and that’s that the two of them were overwhelmed with joy to finally see each other. Amazingly enough, the reunion is full of emotions and waterworks. The two were so touched to finally be together again and were in shock about the whole thing. But what was going to happen between the two of them now?
After the two had reunited, his brother wanted to help him in any way that he could, similar to how Shala did. Raymundo’s brother further explained, “I suggested that Raymundo come live with me. My brothers are still alive; they’re all alive. He was the one missing to complete the emptiness we had.” How heartwarming is that? Talk about a true happy ending to such an intense and heartbreaking story. And this inspiring story gets even better than this.
As soon as he accepted his brother’s invitation to come live with him, he got him new clothes, shaved, and a snazzy new haircut. For the first time in 35 years, Raymundo was all cleaned up and was finally reunited with his family again. But what was it like for him to see his family see him after so long, and what was the transition like for them all? “He’s not a guest, he’s part of the family, with my children and my wife. He’s an integral part,” Raymundo’s brother emotionally expressed.
In 2011, Shala and Raymundo befriended each other and remained best friends until the day that he passed in 2020. In 2012, Shala opened “The Talented Poet” Facebook page and went viral. Through that, his brother found him, and the two reconnected after thinking they’d lost each other forever. And then, in 2015, they were all able to make Raymundo’s one big dream come true. He successfully wrote and published a book of his writings. How amazing is that?
With all of the beautiful and philosophical poems and words of wisdom that the sensitive, sweet, and intelligent Raymundo had written, the most inspiring stories were his own – from rags to riches.
At the end of it all, he received so much love and joy in his life, and it was all thanks to the big-hearted, inspiring, and loving Shala. Without her curiosity and open heart, none of this would have been possible. If you liked the video, please give it a thumbs up and consider sharing it with someone who may find it interesting.