Serendipity: When a Homeless Man is Given a Voice

When I was a little girl, I used to travel a lot because my Dad was a travel agent. On our travels to Europe, there was a man in Milano we would visit named Umberto. My father had met him in an airport shop when he turned to ask a random stranger what cologne he would recommend. That stranger was Umberto, who exchanged numbers with him and became my father’s friend. I remember his house was exotic: a sort of museum of artifacts and items. I can’t remember any of the items with any clarity but I do remember a carved ivory tusk and a small table which stood on an elephant’s foot.

I can remember the coarse sensation of the leg and the thick bristly hairs.

We would go to that apartment every time we were in Milano and when we were back in California, my parents would talk of how nice a man he is. But as all things, the trips stopped and my father had lost track of Umberto. And years later on a trip to London, as my father was going into a building, a man coming out called him by his name.

It was Umberto.

He wasn’t the same jolly man from before. He had worn clothes and had shock white hair, with a clearly derelict air about him. Shocked, my father asked what had happened and all Umberto could say was that he was in need of money. The conversation between the two had been short. My father was on his way somewhere and was late so he took out his wallet, gave Umberto all the money that was there and gave him the name of the hotel he was staying at.

He never heard from him.

To this day, my father regrets not having taken the time out to sit with his old friend to find out what had happened.

I’ve always held the belief that people come and go in our lives because they have something to add to our lives. There is something we have to learn from those moments or days or years that they are there. I have no idea if my father will ever talk to Umberto again but if there is something still left, they will meet.

And when I saw this video, it made me think of that sort of fleeting moment of brilliance.

A singer named Carlos Whittaker was filming a video in a not-so-nice part of town when a homeless man joins in. The result is astounding.

On his Facebook page (, in an entry on Nov 22, 2013, he wrote:

Update on Danny my homeless friend…
So it’s really amazing how this moment that happened almost 4 years ago now, is catching steam again.
Just so everyone knows what went down after we met Danny.
We had about a 30 minute convo, that was mostly for my and his ears only after our moment. There were many other moments in there that changed my life and perspective on homelessness.
I asked Danny how we could get back in touch with him and he gave me a cell phone number and told me he is at that park often.
Well the cell phone number didn’t work and when I went back to that park the next day, none of the homeless men in the park had ever seen Danny. Or so they told me.
I had dreams of taking Danny on the road, recording another version with him, and getting him off the street.
To no avail.
Months passed and still no sign.
And to this day, almost 4 years later, I’ve not heard from Danny.
Although every single time I’m in Atlanta I drive to the park and sit on a bench, hoping that angel walks back by.
Sometimes the Lord gives us moments, for the moment alone, and not for what we think we should do with the moment.
Through Facebook I have gotten some messages from some who have said they have met Danny before and I’m following up with them.
It would be a dream to reunite with Danny and tell him how much his voice has changed so many lives.
Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for sharing this video and the truths Danny shared with me.
Love ya!


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