Homeless woman reunites with sister due to viral ‘free hug’ video

May 4, 2022 - 4:19 PM
ABS-CBN reporter Izzy Lee receives a free hug while on duty (Twitter/Izzy Lee)

The homeless person who hugged a reporter in a viral post was finally reunited with her family.

The reporter named Izzy Lee shared this follow-up report on social media.

“Sinong mag-aakalang ang simpleng pagpapakita ng isang pulubi sa live report ang magiging tulay para muling magkita ang magkapatid na muling nagkawalay?” Lee shared on May 4.

In the ABS-CBN News report, which was aired on Tuesday, Lee said that their news team found out that the person who hugged her has a sister named Mona who has been looking for her for several years.

Mona told the reporter that Melanie, her sister, went to Manila to work and provide for her only son in Mindanao.

“Hinahanap ko siya 2018, 2019 hinanap ko pa siya. Pumunta yan dito sa Maynila para magtrabaho dun sa anak niyang nag iisa lang dun sa Mindanao,” she was quoted as saying in the ABS-CBN News report.

In the report, it was stated that Melanie previously lived with her family in General Santos City in Mindanao.

She is also a single mother who was separated from her husband.

Melanie went to Manila in 1997 to look for a job. Unfortunately, she met someone who got her involved with vices or bad habits.

Mona told Lee that she was excited to bring her sister home. She’s just uncertain about what might happen given their circumstances.

“Gusto ko siyang i-uwi ngayon, ma’am e. Kaso yung iniisip ko yung…syempre kakakita lang namin. Di ko alam yung sitwasyon kung anong mangyari. Gusto ko siyang i-uwi sa anak niya,” Mona said.

How it happened

Last week, during Lee’s live report, a homeless woman suddenly got near her, hugged her arm and smiled in front of the camera.

This footage, along with photos of it, went viral social media.

RELATED: ‘Cute, heartwarming’: Netizens react to reporter receiving free hug on duty 

Lee said in the follow-up report that ABS-CBN News’ video of it racked up at least ten million views.

Some online users later reached out to the news team and introduced themselves as the woman’s relatives.

With the help of several concerned Filipinos, the news team managed to find both Melanie and Mona.

Screenshot of the reunion of Melanie and Mona via ABS-CBN News report uploaded on Tuesday, April 3.

The two long-lost sisters are finally reunited in Las Piñas.

Melanie’s return to her home, however, will have to wait.

Because of her condition, Mona sent her to the National Center for Mental Health for therapy and treatment.

Once Melanie gets better, Lee said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development will shoulder the expenses in bringing her home.

The reunion of Mona and Melanie, meanwhile, was nothing short of a tear-jerker to the viewers online.

As of writing, the video report earned 42,000 reactions, 659 comments and 849,000 views on Facebook.

Several users praised Lee and ABS-CBN for going out of their way for the two sisters to meet.

“Ganda panoorin ng kwento nitong news caster at palaboy di nagulat ung reporter ng dumikit sa kanya. Tuloy lang ang report di man lang nandiri. Sarap sa mata panoorin at ulitin,” one Facebook user said.

“Salute sa reporter ng ABS CBN true. Kapamilya. Sa lahat ng tao may magandang kalooban…true kindness ang nangingibabaw,” another Facebook user commented.

Others also hoped that Melanie will be reunited with her family.

“Wow, sana gumaling na sya agad pra mkasama na niya pamilya,” one Facebook user said.