GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A video chronicling the makeover of a Michigan homeless veteran has received millions of views online.
The nearly three-minute video featuring Jim Wolf of Grand Rapids had received more than 5 million clicks on YouTube as of Saturday. The time-lapse video was produced by community event organizer Rob Bliss with support from a nonprofit group that helps homeless veterans and others.
Stylist Anna Walt cuts, styles and colors Wolf's hair and trims his beard as he occasionally winces and closes his eyes.
After putting on a new suit, shirt and tie, he looks in a mirror and is momentarily taken aback as he utters "wow." He steps down, hugs someone and appears to say, "thank you."
One commenter posted that viewers should watch "only his eyes," which look as though he's going "from lost to proud" during the makeover. Another person criticized the video, arguing it implies that "all he needed to get back on his feet was a haircut and a suit."
The video has about 25,000 likes and 700 dislikes.
Published Wednesday, the video says Wolf volunteered for the "transformation." He's scheduled to have his own housing and attending counseling for alcoholism.
With Veterans Day coming up, the video encourages people to donate to Degage Ministries "to help other homeless veterans."
Walt said she first heard a few years ago that Bliss, known for staging massive participatory events such as the citywide "lip dub" of Don McLean's "American Pie" and Zombie Walks, wanted to offer homeless people free makeovers.
Walt told MLive.com for a story Saturday that the pieces were finally falling into place this fall and she jumped at the chance to get involved.
"I love people and I love helping people," said Walt, who pursued a youth ministry degree several years ago.