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Pranking the homeless: Glendale shelter is transformed

Dining and DrinkingLifestyle and LeisureRestaurantsApril Fools' DayOprah Winfrey

Just in time for April Fools' Day, a new video shows how a Glendale shelter, with the help of a TV chef and others, pulled the wool over the eyes of the homeless.

Their surprise was a filet mignon dinner in a fancy restaurant setting.

"Feeding the Homeless -- Prank It FWD" is from Break.com and Greg Benson's MediocreFilms. Benson has worn many hats, including that of character actor. He's the man behind the popular "cellphone crashing" videos on YouTube. In those, Benson eavesdrops and insinuates himself into cellphone conversations. In those pranks, Benson may be annoying, but he's an amiable guy who is tough to dislike. 

"I've always loved doing positive pranks that make people smile," Benson told the L.A. Times by email Tuesday. But "this is by far the most philanthropic video I've done so far."

Break funded the stunt, which was created in time for April Fools' Day release. Benson acted as maitre-d, and Glendale's Ascencia shelter was transformed into a restaurant setting with latticework, greenery and a fountain.

Among those in on the surprise was Kim Evey, Benson's wife, who led the production team, and chef Jesse Brune, who has the show "Home Made Simple" on Oprah Winfrey's network. Professional servers and a string quartet were among volunteers.

"We were able to close off the dining room area so that no one ... could see what was happening," Benson said. "The temporary residents in the emergency shelter knew something was happening, but they didn't know what.  We got the delighted, surprised reactions we were hoping for."

Check out the reaction in the video above.

Follow me at @AmyTheHub

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