HAUNTING: A homeless man sits down at a piano, and what happens next is pretty amazing!

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(CNN) — A homeless man in Canada with a talent for music is winning fans online. A passerby’s video of Ryan Arcand has gone viral — with about 2.5 million hits.

In the middle of downtown, a melody so beautiful Roslyn Polard knew she had to hit “record.”

“I wanted to show it to my kids. I wanted to show it to my friends. It was kind of unbelievable,” Polard said.

The question then became just who is this man — and what is his story?

After three days of searching the inner city and homeless shelters, 43-year-old Ryan Arcand was found. He looked much different, and he had no idea he’s become the star of a video that has gone viral.

“Do I ever look rugged, my hair. This song always gets to me. It’s the one I wrote,” Arcand said when taking a look at the video.

It is hard to piece together how Arcand got to where he is today.

He was put into foster care as a young child, and in one of those foster homes, he had the opportunity to play a piano.

“I was in tears with this piano. It was like it never had been touched. It never had been touched at all,” Arcand said.

Arcand has lived on the street for most of his life, and is consumed by addiction.

“Music — it becomes a part of you…like you are born with it. You are playing, and it’s like you forget yourself,” Arcand said.

The video that has gone viral likely won’t change Arcand’s life.

“It is not a happy story and there is not going to be a happy ending I don’t think. This is not something that YouTube is going to fix,” Polard said.

The video and Arcand’s life story is a reminder that beauty and promise can be found anywhere.

Polard says she hopes to donate any money made through the video to a social agency that can help Arcand and others living on the street.


  • ...

    Very majestical, but a wasted talent. Its to bad he didn’t stay away from drugs long enough to put his talent to work and become what he could have from his amazing talent.
    Maybe living in a penthouse? traveling the world? who knows, never will.
    Clean up and get a job and put your talent to work, get off the streets. There’s to much waisted talent in this country because of stupidity, gangs, and very bad judgment.

  • Incognegro

    There are lots of people out here who are one paycheck from homelessness. Don’t judge. But by the grace of God there goes …. Who?

  • Herbert Eales

    just goes to show you that people who are homeless , come from all walks of life.that they have many talents. Please do not judge them, say hi when they walk by. It will make their day.

  • Kelly

    I think you should stop talking about what could have been and change it into what could be. I think a fund should be set up for this man and give him the opportunity to enter rehab. I think a studio or band might hire him. Most professional musicians are drug addicts or alcoholics; or have been to rehab, so what’s the difference?

  • ebodevo

    I know a lot of people who have addiction and it’s not easy. Drugs are really ADDICTIVE and therefore really hard to break. People who say ‘oh let me try once’ don’t know how hard it is to turn away next time.

    For the guys who say ‘clean up and get a job’….. Please don’t judge. It’s not that easy. People on the streets come from broken homes, deal with mental issues (before and after becoming homeless) and have addiction issues too. Unfortunately, if you stop and spend time to talk to them for awhile, you realize how kinda crazy some of them are or how much mental baggage they carry. And, I am not trying to be mean. I am quite sad for them.

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