Isaac Avila, 65, who goes by the name Chico, has been roaming the streets of Downtown Miami for 10 years, reports WSVN, a local South Florida news station. Avila used to be a printer at the Miami Herald and wanders the area near his former employer, including the performing arts space, Adrienne Arsht Center, which he visits every Tuesday for food distributed by volunteers.
That’s where he met Gaby, a volunteer for Miracle Messages — an organization that records and shares short clips of homeless people searching for their loved ones on social media.
A video of Avila was uploaded to the organization’s YouTube page on Jan. 25:
And 985 views and 18 likes later, he had found his family, Miracle Messages proudly posted on Facebook:
“Guadalupe, how are you? This is Chico,” Avila says in Spanish to his sister, Lupe Avila, in the video above. “I miss you all very much,” he says in English.
When Lupe was asked how she felt speaking to her brother, she told WSVN that it was “awesome,” and she was overwhelmed as she prepared to pick up her long-lost brother in Miami.
Avila feels gratitude toward Gaby and Miracle Message for their help locating his family.
“They’re a godsend. They are my heroes now; they are my heroes. They are my people now, my saints,” he told WSVN.
Kevin Adler started Miracle Message back in 2014. His uncle was homeless, and because of this, he knows first hand that even if most people ignore homeless individuals, each is someone loved by someone else.
As of last November the organization had reunited four homeless people with their families and since then, they have reunited a few more.
It’s an amazing feat that not even Avila can fully comprehend.
“I’m just dumbfounded, you know. I might not be coming back,” he told WSVN of his life living on the streets of Miami.