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A Simple Makeover Changes How People Treat 70-yr-old Homeless man
DALLAS -- "I see this going viral."
Those were the now-prescient words of Laterras R. Whitfield on May 8. Who could've guessed Pops was the key? "Do you know what viral means?" Whitfield asked Canel, better known as Pops, on Sunday. "It means tough or rough, something like that. It went bad," Pops said. "No," Laterras said. "It means that a lot of people watched it."
Many of you may have noticed that we posted this video on our CW33 Facebook page a few days ago recapping Pops' HomeBless experience. HomeBless Life is a web series started by Dallas native Laterras R. Whitfield with a singular purpose.
"To inspire people to converge and to help people end homelessness because I'm telling you, It can be eradicated," Whitfield said, describing his series. "It just takes someone that cares."
For Pops, it meant a haircut, a massage, a facial, and a new suit. It also involved showing how people on the street reacted to Pops before and after the makeover.
Needless to say, it got people talking big time.
"6.9 million people. How does that feel?" Laterras asked Pops about the number who had seen the video at the time.
"Feels good," the 70-year-old said.
"That many people cared about you. And if I let you read the comments, which we'll do a little later, is that they were like, 'We gotta do something. Something's gotta happen. We gotta do something for this man,'" Laterras said.
Some wondered if it was all a show.
"I understand the concern," Laterras said. "They see this guy all dressed up. They say, 'He looks nice. He did this makeover, but what happens from here?'"
Just ask Pops.
"The next step is to get a phone, license, you know, ID," Pops said.
Leaving the streets for good is a process, and Laterras knows all too well that people like Pops have a lot of hoops to go through before real solutions happens. Since the world got a glimpse of Pops, possible job offers started coming in.
Laterras will wade through that this week and very soon get Pops the vital paperwork and ID Pops will need to work and, most importantly, move permanently from here.
There may be just one Pops, but there are hundreds and thousands of people just like him on a street near you waiting for a hand up.
Maybe you're the blessing for their HomeBless Life.