Reporting Kathryn Brown
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A homeless man, who hadn’t seen his daughter in over a decade, reunited with her Friday in Bryant Park after tracking her down through Twitter.
It was all smiles and hugs for Daniel Morales, 58, and his daughter Sarah Rivera as they saw each other for the first time in 11 years. “I feel rejoiced,” Morales said.
Daniel Morales tells 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney that everything is possible
“Just to find my dad after 11 years…I don’t even know how to feel right now, I’m just very, very happy,” Rivera said. “It’s an exciting moment.”
The two lost contact when Rivera moved from Puerto Rico to the United States with her mother in 2000.
Everything changed after Morales received a prepaid cell phone and a Twitter account courtesy of the project Underheard in New York.
WCBS 880 Reporter Catherine Cioffi spoke with the homeless shelter’s spokesman about the insight into the men’s Twitter updates.
On Wednesday, three weeks into the project, Morales decided to use the social neworking tool to find his 27-year-old daughter, and posted his cell phone number and a photo of Rivera when she was 16.
A stranger saw the message, reached out to Rivera and on Thursday, Morales got the call he’s been waiting for.
“It [Twitter] holds a purpose and that purpose is you can instantly find anybody and it’s amazing,” Rivera said.
“Just getting in touch with my daughter again after 11 years and seeing my grandkids, it’s awesome,” Morales said.
Dad and daughter now say both of their lives are forever changed.”I’m gonna have them in my life,” Morales said. “I’m gonna do whatever it takes to keep them near me.”
Rivera, who lives in a domestic violence shelter in Brooklyn with her two young children, said she has also been searching for her father all these years. “I intend on keeping him in my life now,” Rivera said.
In a YouTube video posted by the group prior to the emotional reunion, Morales has a smile plastered across his face as he speaks with his daughter. “I just found out about my daughter, I’ve been looking for her for years, she just called me out of nowhere,” Morales said while wiping away tears.
Morales, who now has over 3,000 followers on Twitter, said he never knew the Internet could be so great. One person even expressed interest in helping Morales write his book.
Underheard In New York decided to give four men in New York City cell phones and Twitter accounts to help them tell the world what it’s like to be homeless.
“Danny actually said that he always wanted to tell his story but he never thought anyone would listen to it and I said someone’s out there, someone will want to hear,” Rosemary Melchier, of Underhead In New York, said.
As he rekindles his relationship with his family, Morales said he will keep on Tweeting.
According to Underheard In New York, Morales moved to the United States in 1969 from Puerto Rico. He worked as a security guard before he was hurt on the job. Morales spends most nights at the New York City Rescue Mission where he also helps with housekeeping duties.