Giving to those in need is one of the most rewarding things that a person can do. YouTube host Das is certainly able to relate to that, as he gifted $283 to a homeless woman on the streets of Santa Monica, California, in August 2015. For the rest of the day, however, he secretly filmed what she purchased with the money.
As social media continues to grow, more and more content providers from across the world are able to find an audience for their work. One such provider is K3tv – a YouTube channel specializing in social experiments, pranks and experimental dating. Based in the United States, the channel has earned a sizable following since joining the video-sharing website in November 2014.
Indeed, K3tv now has more than 300,000 subscribers after producing over 30 videos. But while the latter number might seem low, those posts have proved incredibly popular with online users, earning more than 53 million views on YouTube. That success could be credited to the sheer variety of content on the channel, which ranges from the comedic to the heartfelt.
K3tv’s most popular video, titled “Kissing Prank: Staring Contest,” has earned over 14 million views since being published in September 2015. But one of its other posts stands out for very different reasons. Titled “Homeless Woman Does Unbelievable Act Spending YouTube Money,” the video was posted on August 24, 2015, and has since been viewed almost 2.5 million times.
Following an introduction by the host Das, the video opens with a shot of a woman sat outside a building on the sun-drenched streets of Santa Monica. From there, Das enters the frame and starts a conversation with the lady in question, sitting down next to her. “You doing alright?” he asks. “Are you homeless by chance?”
“Yes, me and my son [are homeless],” the woman responds, prompting Das to ask where her son is at that time. “He’s at the library right now,” she replies. With that in mind, the host then enquires as to how long she’s been sitting in that particular spot. “Yeah, since about, maybe five or six o’clock this morning,” the lady answers.
Moments later, Das stands up and makes his intentions known to the homeless woman, who is still none the wiser about the fact that she’s being filmed. “Alright, I tell you what, I got some cash here,” he says, pulling out his wallet. “This is good enough to get you through the day, at least, so I’m going to give you this.”
Das then hands over $283 in cash to the woman. “Think about your son, think about your daughters,” he tells her. “Just make yourself feel nice today.” Unsurprisingly, she’s taken aback by the gesture and initially tries to refuse the money. “I can’t,” she responds. “I’m sorry, I can’t take this. It’s too much!”
Das won’t take no for an answer, though, as he presses the money into the woman’s hand, reassuring her that she should take it. “Oh my God, are you serious?” she replies. “Oh Lord, can I please just give you a hug?” The pair then share a warm embrace, with Das reiterating his earlier suggestion that she do something nice with the cash.
“I sure will, thank you so much,” the woman responds as the host walks away from the building. From there, the camera stays on her while she seems to take the moment in, poignantly looking up at the sky with a smile on her face. Then, sometime after, she picked up her belongings and walked down the Santa Monica street.
Unknown to the woman, though, Das’ camera crew followed her, hoping to catch a glimpse of what she’d spend the money on. The video then cuts to the lady doing some window shopping before sitting down for an ice-cream. After that, she continues walking along the streets of Santa Monica, keeping the cash close to her chest.
With the camera crew still trailing her, the woman then heads towards another building, prompting Das to describe the area as “the middle of nowhere.” A few moments later, however, the situation becomes much clearer for the host. “It’s an animal shelter,” he says of the building. “Santa Monica Animal Shelter.”
Some 45 minutes after the woman entered the animal shelter, Das and his crew were waiting outside, ready to capture her re-emergence. And as she leaves the building, the video shows the host approaching her and finally seeing where his money went. “Hey, you got a dog?” he asks, spying the small white animal in her arms.
“We’ve actually been following you this whole time,” Das confesses. “We noticed [that] you skipped every store, every clothing store. You adopted a dog with the money that I gave you? Wow.” The homeless woman then explains the reasons behind her decision.
“Out of everything that I saw today, it just seemed more senseful and caring just to have a dog,” the woman says. “You know, I looked at the clothes, I looked at the jewelry, and none of it touched my heart. None of it. But I saw a lot of people walking around with dogs, so I was like, ‘Wow.’”
Despite her explanation, though, Das is still surprised and touched by what has happened. “I definitely felt like you were going to get, like, clothes and food – that’s what I expected,” he says. “We followed you around, and we were like, ‘Where is she going? She’s passed by every store.’ And then you go inside this one place away from it all. That’s amazing.”
The woman then expands upon why she adopted the dog, offering a heartwarming response. “This is where my heart led me,” she tells Das. “It led me right here to this dog. And this is someone I can talk to and love and hold and love. No matter what, he’s always going to be there for me.”
With that in mind, Das and his crew decide to buy some food and supplies for the woman’s dog, making sure that the pair are set. However, as they leave the store, the host makes one last gesture. “I’m going to give you some more cash here,” he says, pulling out his wallet again.
“I understand that you got the dog, but I only want you to get yourself something,” Das continues. “Maybe you can get the dog something else as well, maybe a toy. Maybe even another friend!” As he counts out the money and hands it to the shocked woman, the host adds, “And all I want in return is a hug.”
As the pair embrace one final time, the video comes to a close with a simple message that reads, “Faith in Humanity: Restored.” Indeed, this particular social experiment showed that the homeless can still value companionship over material needs. For just $283, it seems as though Das unwittingly changed a woman’s life.