Twitter Helps Homeless NYC Man Find Daughter After 11 Years

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.

daniel morales sarah rivera Twitter Helps Homeless NYC Man Find Daughter After 11 Years

(Credit: CBS 2)

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.

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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.

  • Rasputin

    Next weeks headline… “4 homeless people swap cell phones for cider”

  • Colleen

    Great feel-good story! It’s amazing that they were able to find each other. I wish their family a happy future together! :)

  • Ankie

    wow…. tht shud hv been very lovly moment for thm…… glad to read this…… humanity still exixts sonewhr….. :)

  • casylee22..

    Dad n Daughter reunited..Amazing, I myself reunited with our mom thru 25 years as in 25 years of no communication. Thanks to the people who did this kind of communication..

  • huh?

    TO Emily, how can his grandson be close to 20 when his daughter is 27?

  • Ben

    This is an inspiring story, but I take issue with the author when she says he “moved to the United States from Puerto Rico”. Puerto Rico IS the United States! That makes as much sense as saying he “moved to the US from the US.”. Or perhaps he “moved to New York from the United States”.

    • alopez

      Sorry Ben- the author is correct. Please review your history. Puerto Rico is NOT the United States. Puerto Rico is considered a “Free Associated State” or Commonwealth. Puerto Rico was acquired as a booty of war during the Spanish American War in 1898. In 1917 the US Congress granted Puerto Ricans US Citizenship, to make them eligible for the military draft for World War I. Puerto Rico is an Island with its only language, history and culture that has survived in spite of US domination.

      • Ben

        I am glad that Puerto Ricans have kept their culture and community. It’s better than many other cultures have done when they’ve been basically invaded. But Puerto Ricans by your own admission are US Citizens. Their President is Barack Obama, they send representatives to Congress (non-voting but that is by choice), and the island is a US Territory. They hold the same status many states held before becoming a state. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States. To imply otherwise is false. It is not a sovereign nation, it is a part of a larger sovereign nation.

  • marge

    I am so happy for both of them. it is refreshing to hear good news once in awhile!

  • ThePro

    Great story.

    I do feel that the guy will probably ask her for money though…

    • brooklynbtch18

      and your point is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Emily Feldman

    To Pugphan,

    I think you did not do well in math in school. His grandson had to be closer to 20. Get a calculator.

  • Debbie Berkowit

    Yes, it is okay to give a homeless person a cell phone. This man was working and lost his job through no fault of his own. One day you may have problems and need help. You wouldn’t deserve nasty comments.
    Why are you so full of hate?

  • GA

    You guys need some more LOVE in your heart.. or GET A LIFE!!

  • Ellen

    I hope and pray that things will be a lot better for father and daughter. Boy has the world really changed through things like the internet and twitting.

  • HoTfoYoMoM

    wow…and this is on local news?
    i see there is nothing but local haters in here…people can’t read…with idiotic comments and stupid dumm thoughts they should keep to them selves. instead of being happy for a family that was just re-united after 11 years apart they hate?.these are the kind of people that sit at home criticizing other people just because they can….
    as for the one who says thay being a grandpa at 58 is disgusting? please!!! you know your mom and dad were probably rocking your grand parents couch at the age of 16…stop acting like they didn’t.

    • Eileen

      Let’s just be thankful! God is good. My husband just recently found his daughter after 30+ years. She is a Christian now, married with 5 chidlren. We are all so thankful to have found each other!


    Why all the Hate for this reunion!! Thats whats wrong with people today HATERS!!

  • LAMC

    I think in the clip he starts to say great and then changes it to grandkids. It was a slip up on his part. No where in the article does it say she has any other kids the the two small ones! People don’t be haters!

  • Numbers

    Another feel good story. NOT

    • Sharon Greenspan

      Yes, this is another feel good story. These are good people who deserve to be lucky for a change. His daughter is in a domestic violence shelter – you should be glad that you or someone you know never has to end up in one.

  • Mr. Armenia

    Now its ok to give free cellphones to homeless people

  • Tands

    Dude, can’t you read?

  • joe k

    Hey if you have nothing maybe more have nothing kids is something. Not good for society but who cares.

  • kathy chapman

    welll i think its amazing and wonderful and a whole new start for this man and his family,i dont believe in god or anything like that but i believe things happen for a reason and good luck to all concerned,as for it being disgusting like tha first coment say,its not,its every day life so get u head out u arse and see life for what it is

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