In this video, filmmaker Josh Paler Lin gives $100 to a homeless man and then follows him for a surprising look into how the money gets spent.
Lin meets the homeless man at a freeway entrance, then hands him $100 in cash. The man is shocked and very appreciative on being given the money.
“I’m starting to tear up,” he man says, hugging Lin and saying that’s never happened before in his whole life. After Lin departs, the man watches after him for a long time, picks up his belongings and leaves the freeway entrance. Lin films him, following at a distance, until the homeless man enters a liquor store. The man exits the store some time later toting an armload of black plastic shopping bags.
Lin continues to follow and film the man as he walks through busy intersections and across a city park. Once in the park, it becomes apparent the man has not purchased liquor in the store, but food. He distributes sandwiches, snacks and sodas to other homeless people, some middle aged, some younger and some children.
Lin approaches the homeless man again and confesses to following and filming him. Lin confesses to suspecting the man would buy liquor with the money.
“But there’s things money can’t buy. I get happiness out of it,” says the man. Lin then hands him another $100, saying the man has touched his heart.
The man explains that his father had cancer and the insurance only paid so much, so he cared for his father at home. When his father passed away, the family home had to be sold to cover the bills and the man found himself homeless. He’d been homeless for four months by the time the video was made.
Since the video was released, Lin’s fundraising effort to help the homeless man has raised over $145,000 from nearly 8,000 donors.
Lin has since been accused of faking the video but has denied the claims. Either way there’s no doubt he raised awareness about homelessness, as the video now has over 35 million YouTube views.