Ryan Arcand has been homeless for 30 years. When Roslyn Polard of Edmonton, Canada came upon him playing an outdoor piano in town, she knew she was witnessing something special and pulled out her phone to record the moment. Polard told her that he’d written the piece and that nobody taught him to play music.
In the days since the video was posted last month, it’s attracted attention from millions of viewers. However, little was known about Arcand or his story until CBC and CNN tracked him down to do a story about him, his talents, & his life. [CNN]
Arcand and his brother were taken from his parents by social workers when he was just a toddler, and he first sat down at a piano in a foster home at eight years old.
He told the CBC, ”It was as though we were meant for each other. You’re looking at the piano and you’re falling in love with it … I was in tears with this piano.”
He’s no longer allowed to play at the piano where Polard recorded him because he was spotted with an open can of beer and has also been banned from several other public pianos, which leaves him with fewer options for the outlet he so loves.
The tragic part of this story is that while internet fame is nice, it stands to do little to improve Arcand’s life. It’s also worth mentioning that thousands of other homeless people in Edmonton and all over the world suffer in silence with stories similar to his. Arcand’s fame may not solve his problems, but maybe it can spark a greater conversation to help others like him.