Homeless Ex-Marine Stuns Crowds With His Soulful Piano Playing

A homeless man who turned his life around owes so much of his transformation to a simple viral video. Donald Gould, a Marine Veteran who ended up homeless and in dire straits after losing his wife to cancer and custody of his son, used to frequent an outdoor piano in Sarasota, Florida, to take his worries away. After one of his performances was videotaped, the down-on-his-luck veteran rose to internet fame and ended up back on his feet.

Donald Gould is a man who has always put music at the forefront of his life. According to his website, he played clarinet proudly with the United States Marine Corps Band back in the day. After his time with the Marines, he attended Spring Arbor University in Michigan, studying music theory.

Tragically, Gould's life took an unfortunate turn after losing his wife to cancer and then losing custody of his son. In his grief, Gould developed addiction issues and ended up homeless. He moved to Sarasota, Florida, and lived on the streets for years, struggling with his addiction.


Throughout all of the pain, he could not turn off his love for music. Gould would frequently visit an outdoor piano in Sarasota and tickle the ivories. One of his favorite songs to play was the soothing “Come Sail Away” by Styx.

One day, a person watching Gould's performance videotaped the show and then put it on YouTube for the world to see. To Gould's surprise, the video went viral and notched over 40 million views.

This viral video made a huge impact on Gould's life. A local woman named Jacqueline Bevin happened to see the video and knew that she could help Gould.

As a member of a Sarasota ministry group, Bevin was able to help Gould move into a halfway house so that he could beat his addiction and become sober. Gould also reconnected with his son and developed a relationship with him.

Because of the fame generated from the viral video, Gould began receiving offers to play his music. Gould was invited to be on a Japanese game show and even play the National Anthem at a San Francisco 49ers football game in front of 70,000 people.

The icing on the cake was when Gould was offered a recording contract from Austin's Triple Pop Records. It is no surprise that the first single from his debut album was "Come Sail Away."

After turning his life around, Gould returned the favor to Sarasota by returning to the piano that started it all and treating the audience to a concert. The difference in his physical health and outward appearance is truly amazing. Gould is now living in Germany with his new wife. He has also been able to turn music into his career, just as he had already dreamed about.

Now you can see the video that started it all as well as the latest concert in Sarasota. After you have watched this true story of redemption, be sure to spread the love to everyone else that you know.