When a homeless man sat down at an outdoor piano in Sarasota, Florida, his beautiful playing moved hearts worldwide, leading to a crowdfunding campaign to lift him out of homelessness.

Donald Gould, the homeless man, noticed an outdoor piano at a mall and decided to play, putting his hat out to earn some tips for food. He performed “Come Sail Away” by STYX, a complex and beautiful piece that requires great skill on the piano.

Passersby were amazed to see that the source of this lovely melody was a scruffy, skinny homeless man. One listener, Aurore Henry, recorded a video on her phone.

“Yeah, I go there about every day trying to put my hat out… and make something,” Gould said.

Aurore shared the video online, and it quickly went viral, receiving millions of views from people amazed by Gould’s musical talent. The next day, Aurore and her friends returned to find Gould and let him know how much his music was appreciated.

“I think you should be playing somewhere, and I really hope that whoever sees this will find you because you have an amazing gift that is really important for this world,” Aurore’s friend told Gould.

Aurore’s friend encouraged Gould by saying, “You should be performing somewhere, and I hope someone sees this and discovers your amazing gift, which is so important for the world.”

After getting to know him better, Aurore and her friends discovered that Gould is a former US Marine who had been homeless for six to seven years. His struggles began after his wife passed away, leading to addiction issues and the temporary loss of custody of his young son.

Despite living on and off the streets, Gould had a musical background from playing clarinet as a child, serving in the Marine Corps Band, and studying music education at university, although he couldn’t finish his studies.

Moved by his story, people worldwide started a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $40,000 for Gould. With this support, he chose to enter rehab to overcome his addiction and rebuild his life.

Inside Edition reached out to Gould for a makeover, giving him a new wardrobe, his first haircut, and shave in over 18 months.

Following these changes, Gould performed live at Michael’s On East in Sarasota, receiving praise from attendees. His talent even caught the attention of the San Francisco 49ers, who invited him to perform the national anthem at one of their home games in front of 70,000 spectators.

Inspired by this newfound recognition, Gould released his own album titled ‘Walk on Water’. His former university, where he had studied music education, offered him a full scholarship to complete his studies. Most importantly, he was able to reunite with his son, a deeply emotional moment for both.

You can watch a touching video of Gould’s piano performance here.