Image: YouTube/Stuart Edge
Image: YouTube/Stuart Edge
Stuart Edge isn’t a run-of-the-mill magician. The prolific YouTuber, who’s as much a prankster as an illusionist, is also something of a philanthropist. One day, he took to the streets with $1,000 of his personal money, looking for people to give it to. Well, not “give” exactly, for the conjurer used his talents to make $100 bills magically appear in his subjects’ hands – in what could just be the world’s most heartwarming magic trick.
Image: Instagram/Stuart Edge
After raiding his savings account, Edge, loaded with cash, started exploring the sidewalks of Orem and Provo in Utah. With one trick in particular up his sleeve and a desire to make a difference, he went seeking people in need – namely the area’s homeless folks.
“For this magic trick,” Edge explained in one of his YouTube videos, “I’ve taken $1,000 out of my personal funds, and we’re going to hit the streets in search of people who could use a pick-me-up.” The magician further revealed that he had been thinking about this routine for more than a month.
What’s more, his motivation wasn’t just to assist those in need, but also to inspire less fortunate people to assist others, too. As Edge wrote on his blog, “I want this video to help restart the conversation on this issue and create an environment where people can share their stories of being helped and when they helped others.”
With him having done all his rehearsing, it wasn’t long before the magician found his first one-person audience: a man with a cardboard sign asking for help. “Here’s the trick,” Edge told him. “I’m going to teach you how to do magic.” And, his curiosity awakened, the guy agreed to be taught.
After pulling out a $1 bill and folding it, the conjurer placed the money into his subject’s outstretched palm. Edge then reached into his top pocket and revealed a $100 bill, and after the magician had folded it in the same way, it too went into the guy’s hand.
“I want you to close your hand up,” Edge instructed. “Turn it over,” he added before reaching in and taking one of the bills, which just so happened to be the $100 banknote.
After placing the larger-value bill into his own hand, and with the $1 banknote apparently left in the homeless man’s hand, the magician asked his subject to have faith that they could somehow swap. “If you believe,” Edge said, “they should switch.”
When the subject turned his hand over and opened it up, he looked pretty shocked. And with good reason, for lying in his palm was the folded $100 bill. Moreover, when it was unfolded it was still the $100 bill. Magic indeed.
The best, however, was yet to come. “The deal is that you get to keep that,” Edge explained, much to the homeless man’s amazement. That day’s good deed, it seemed, was thus very much done, but the magician wasn’t content to end there.
Far from it, in fact, with Edge going on to perform the same trick on at least six other people. Their reactions? Well, they ranged from shock and disbelief to sincere, heartfelt thanks.
“How did you do that?” asked one man, who had a sign saying, “Homeless vet needs help.” The trickster’s reply was, simply, “Magic.”
Another man half-jokingly asked whether the $100 bill would later turn back into $1. And when Edge confirmed that it wouldn’t, the man embraced him and said, with a huge grin on his face, “Thank you.”
This guy was quite a character – what with a guitar in hand and a mouth organ mounted in front of his lips. It thus seemed only fitting that he played a song to mark the occasion.
“You help the poor people like us,” he told Edge before strumming a tune and blowing into his harmonica. Moments earlier the busker had been desperate to find out how the magician had pulled off his altruistic trick, but like any conjurer worth his salt, Edge wasn’t going to reveal anything.
Perhaps the most touching reaction, though, was from a softly spoken lady whom Edge found at the roadside. She was standing there hoping to collect donations from strangers, and the sign she held revealed that she was a widowed mother struggling to pay the rent.
“There’s a power in fist bumping,” Edge explained to her as the trick was underway. By this point the magician had removed the $100 bill from her hand, placed it into his own and described to her how the notes could switch places.
“If we fist bump hard enough,” he added, “and you want it bad enough, they should be able to switch.” The lady needed a little encouragement to fist pump with sufficient gusto, but when she opened her hand her nervous smile turned into an expression of disbelief.
“You’re an amazing person,” she told Edge afterward. “Not just ’cause you’re, like, really magic, but you’re really amazing.” And at this the magician seemed truly humbled.
After his magic tricks, Edge created the #fistbump hashtag as a means to raise awareness of homeless people’s various plights. This is a magician, it seems, who cares just as much about helping the many as helping the few. It really is heartwarming stuff.