This special Valentine’s Day makeover in 2015 made some viewers grab their tissues as YouTube channel K3tv sent cameraman Kevin and show host Das out to find a woman to treat to a special day.
Even though they didn’t mean to pick a homeless woman, when they came across Debbie sitting under a tree in Santa Monica, California at 3pm on February 14th, looking alone and with all of her belongings in discarded shopping bags around her, Das decided to approach her.
“Excuse me, miss. Happy Valentine’s Day,” Das said, handing her a small box of chocolates.
The woman clearly had no idea it was Valentine’s Day but agreed to Das’ request to spend the day together.
(despite her introducing herself as “Lynn,” producers later found out her name is actually Debbie and “Lynn” is the aspiring singer’s stage name, so we’ll refer to her as Debbie.)
When Das asked her if she has any Valentine’s Day plans, she said that she’ll likely go to karaoke later. He asked whether he could go with her after they do some shopping and get something to eat.
She replied “I’d rather drink.”
The two then headed off for a single glass of wine as Debbie put the box of chocolates in her bag and says “Best thing to happen to me all day!”
She first dumped an Abercrombie bag that she uses to store her clothes and they head off. (Later we find out that she knew someone would come to pick them up and that she didn’t think she could lug it around all day.)
Then the two got their glasses of wine while we get some background on her. She clearly has some spunk in her as she tells Das “I’m not homeless, I’m rentless!”
When Das asks her if there’s anything she needs, she quickly makes a list: apparently, she needs a bra, a pair of underwear, a pair of socks, and some boots.
Then she says “you tell me, look at me.”
It looks like they’ve gone into a nearby Nordstrom to get her those supplies and she’s having a grand time, even flashing her new bra a little.
“It feels wonderful, do you want to see?”
Then the pair heads downstairs where Debbie gets some moisturizer at the La Mer counter and enjoys “being spoiled.”
We can’t blame Debbie as she takes full advantage of her situation. The show is filming her and making money off the story, why shouldn’t she get a few nice things along the way after all?
Even though she does get a nice day out, it looks like her request for a hotel room with a bathtub goes unfulfilled, though she admits to not having a bath in about two years. (But she’s in pretty good shape, so she’s obviously had a shower, just not the relative luxury of a good, hot soak she desired.)
It all starts to hit her as she repeats “2 years and I haven’t had a bath.”
It doesn’t matter what you think of Debbie at this point, it’s hard seeing her start to get emotional. Not a lot of us can imagine spending that kind of time on the streets with all of our belongings held in a few paper bags as she did.
Of course that Das doesn’t want Debbie to cry, so we skip to the next scene because we don’t need to see a vulnerable person’s breakdown.
Debbie seems more sedate but has gotten some of her spark back as she ponders singing “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica at karaoke that night by the time they take a smoke break.
Of course that Das didn’t see that one coming.
Next, they had to a salon and that’s where Debbie says “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
The woman got a good hair wash and head massage as a lilting piano plays “Pretty Woman” in the background.
Even though some commenters said it all felt a little exploitative, it appears Debbie is capable of sensing that and making her own decisions about pulling the plug or asking for filming to stop.
Everyone can tell she is just enjoying being pampered and having some human touch as she gets a blowout.
Makeup is the next thing that comes and it’s clear by the way that Debbie holds herself that she is feeling out of place, she’s more than ready to enjoy the special surprise she’s been offered out of nowhere.
When the last pieces of her hair are put back in place, she looks up and smiles and we see the Debbie that might have been if life had treated her differently.
Often times we say “there but for the grace of God go I” and it’s this kind of moment that really forces more empathetic viewers to wonder what life might have been like if just a few things had gone differently.
When the girl was asked how she feels, she gives a deep, satisfied smile and says “I don’t feel.” It’s a compliment after everything she’s likely been through.
“I feel normal again, how ’bout that?”
The next thing to come is the promised boot shopping where Debbie immediately finds a pair that she loves and that look like they can handle all the walking she does, so Das buys her some new Doc Martens.
The two then decides that it’s time to eat and when asked about her favorite meal, Debbie goes for the gold – steak and seafood.
A 9pm dinner at the swanky Boa Steakhouse has Debbie digging into the kind of meal she hasn’t had in a long time. She asks Das to try something delicious on her plate but it turns out to be a garnish and they start laughing silly.
Debbie finally asks Das: “What’s your purpose for doing this.”
Das answers by saying he feels like he needs to do it, which satisfies her – she tells him that he has the power to make people look inward at their decisions and what brought them to where they are.
Debbie, on the other hand, said she wouldn’t be able to survive if she had any regrets in life, so she’s accepted all of her decisions. But that hasn’t left her unscathed.
What’s her biggest heartbreak? That her kids no longer communicate with her.
Every time that Debbie feels sad, Das tries to get her to look on the bright side so she can have a positive day – after all, Debbie will have plenty of time for reflection when the camera goes away and she’s on her own again – so they break out the box of chocolates and then leave the restaurant arm-in-arm and with a big bag of leftovers form the food they ate.
The minute Das and cameraman Kevin tell her they have to leave after karaoke, she gives them something to remember her by – a page from her diary.
When they were asked if there was anything else she needed, a pack of smokes and a hug is all she asked for.
And when Kevin asks her what the day has meant to her, at first she’s at a loss for words.
“I have hope that I can get my life together,” she finally admits.
Then Debbie said the day had reminded her that she does have a lot of assets and that there are people she needs to get back into her life. She ends on a note of both hope and sorrow.
Afterwards, in the interview, Das calls Debbie one of the most influential and inspiring people in his life and he acknowledges that while they can do a few good deeds for Debbie, it will be up to her to change her life in the long run.
The crew made an update video a few months later in June of that same year (2015). In it, they met up with Debbie who said she had found a job cleaning and tending to a music studio while she continues to pursue her dream as a singer/songwriter after the video was filmed.
From that time on, all we know is that she had been able to see her kids and we even got a clip of her giving a bit of cash to a homeless person on a bench. And those Doc Martins are still holding up great.
Debbie paid for the duos meal this time around before they parted their ways.
Make sure you click below to see the original video of Debbie’s Valentine’s Day surprise that’s been watched by over 3.6 million people since 2015.