Homeless father has emotional reunion with adult daughters after 24 years apart – “I’m in Heaven”
There’s no place like home!
Home is where your family is, and after more than two decades, a once “lost” homeless man is back home.
Jose Lopez fell out of touch with his two daughters after separating from his wife and moving to Florida with his mother. He reconnected with his children over the phone a few years ago, but then went silent again after suffering a series of strokes and ending up homeless.
The 61-year-old says he was determined to find his daughters, according to CBS New York. He took money from his Social Security income and traveled back to New Jersey, hoping to make it to Bradley Beach.
“Empty … and I hated feeling that way,” Lopez said.
A New Jersey Transit police officer first spotted Lopez at the Secaucus Junction Station.
The officer asked him if he needed any help, and when the disheveled father said yes, crisis outreach officer Sean Pfeifer stepped in.
“Mr. Lopez was intent on finding his family, and I wanted to make sure that I was there to help him with doing that,” said Pfeifer.
He called dozens of possible family members.
“I was actually in a parking lot and I had checked my voicemail,” said Angela Viviani of Neptune, one of Lopez’s daughters. “And I’m like, is this a scam or something?”
Pfeifer went above and beyond, helping Lopez clean up before he reunited with his daughters and met his grandchildren for the first time.
A tearful, heartwarming reunion! NJ Transit Police reunite a homeless man with his family after 24 years!! Jose Lopez not only got to hug his daughters, he met his grandkids for the first time! Lopez was given a shave and a haircut, plus new clothes for the big reunion moment. pic.twitter.com/puIYKRp2QW
— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) August 20, 2019
Kristy Viviani was 17 years old the last time she saw her father. Angela Viviani was 10.
Their meeting was a powerful experience for everyone involved.
“I was that little girl,” Angela said.
“I saw on his face, you know, I remembered the eyes and, um, it’s just very nerve-wracking,” Kristy said.
“To feel their emotion, behind the camera I was tearing up,” said Pfeifer.
“I’m thinking, I’m in Heaven, I’ve got my two best girls. I got a good friend,” said Lopez.
Pfeifer says not all homeless people accept help for one reason or another. He is grateful Lopez did, and it will be a highlight of his career.
As for Lopez, he is getting mental health help from the PATH Program, a mental health association.
His daughters say they look forward to many family barbecues.
Source CBS New York