Prankster gives homeless man $100 and is shocked by what happens

Dec 24, 2014 at 12:20 p.m. ET

Most of us don't give money to homeless people. It's a sad fact. Walk down any street in Manhattan most days and you see them there, hands outstretched, 99 percent of people passing by without so much as dropping a dime in a cup. It's terrible and sad, but we all know why. We are afraid of how they'd spend it.

Well-known YouTube prankster Josh Paler Lin decided to put this to the test. He gave a homeless man named Thomas $100 and then followed him with his camera to see what he'd do. He went into a liquor store so, of course, Lin assumed that was it. But when he came out with a giant bag he went straight to the park with bread. To share with his friends.

See the video below:


Amazingly moving, no?

Lin himself said he was terribly moved by it and felt guilty for doubting Thomas who apparently became homeless after quitting his job and going home to help his parents and then losing their house after they died. It's a tragic story and one that is probably not altogether uncommon.

People don't choose to fall on hard times. They don't choose to lose their homes. They aren't always lazy and they aren't always bad people. Sometimes they just lose their luck. Hard to believe, but true. It could happen to any of us. And wouldn't we want someone to help us?

A lot of people are convinced this is a hoax. And it could be. It certainly has garnered enormous publicity. But is it really so hard to believe that those without homes might still be decent people? Even hard working? Or generous? Have we really become so cyncial?

Even if this were a hoax, I have no trouble at all believing that a hungry person would have compassion for other hungry people. The fact is, when you know how much something hurts, you tend to want to help other people experiencing the same thing. Selfishness seems like something more rampant at the top of our society than at the bottom.

Look at this video and then ask yourself: Will I ever pass a homeless person the same way again? If not, it worked. Whether it's a hoax or not, it's beautiful. I choose to believe it.

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