A woman walks past a 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 had 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.
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. She passed this street frequently, but this time she noticed something that caught her eye and made her want to stop and investigate.
Directly 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. Shalimontaro’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 Shalimontaro 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 Raymundu Arudo Sobrino, and he had been homeless for over three decades. Now, but 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 had 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.