It started as a somewhat cynical social experiment in Orange County: How would a homeless man spend the gift of $100?
Josh Lin watched -- and filmed -- as the subject of his experiment entered a liquor store. Then he got a surprise.
The man holding up the sign asking for money from the freeway offramp in Fullerton bought food, walked to a neighborhood park and gave it to others in need.
What Lin witnessed left him stunned. The amateur filmmaker has made a name for himself on social media with pranks that capture the public’s reaction to unexpected situations. But in this case, Lin was the one caught off guard.
“I feel like I owe you an apology," Lin confessed to the man, whom he identified only as Thomas. "I thought you were going to buy alcohol or something.”
“There’s things money can’t buy," Thomas responded. "I get happiness out of what I’m doing.
“There’s a lot of people that are just victim of circumstance, that didn’t go homeless because they’re lazy.”
Thomas said he became homeless after his parents died within weeks of each other and the condo he shared with them was sold.
The video has been viewed more than 11.4 million times on YouTube since it was posted on Monday. On Lin’s multiple social media pages, he says he was so moved by Thomas’ generosity that he put him up in a hotel and has launched a fundraiser to get Thomas back on his feet.
The account had more than $55,000 as of Wednesday morning.
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