When a heavily pregnant woman was trying to move house, it ended in disaster. With no-one to help her collect all of her personal belongings that had scattered across the road, she burst into tears. But would anyone stop to help in her time of need?
Hollywood, Los Angeles, is home to hundreds of TV studios. And one of the most well-known is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Back in 2013, something happened just outside its walls that resulted in a segment of television to remember.
The popular daytime talk show often includes celebrity interviews, pranks and giveaways. Not only that, but sometimes the feel-good television program features hidden camera segments, designed to fool the public into thinking they are in a real-life situation.
Eventually, the unsuspecting members of the public are told that they have been set up by The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But the silver lining is that there is normally some kind of reward for acting in a favorable way in the given situation.
One of the best examples of the show’s hidden camera segment aired in 2013, when the host, Ellen DeGeneres herself, sent one of her colleagues onto the streets of Hollywood to test the public’s kindness levels. Staff writer, Amy, acted as the bait in the “Cash for Kindness” experiment.
Amy was not pregnant, but the show’s producers gave her a fake baby bump, before placing her outside the studio with a huge moving van full of cardboard boxes. The plan was simple: they wanted to know whether people would stop to help a pregnant lady in distress.
Amy was wearing an earpiece, so was able to hear DeGeneres speaking to her from within the studio. She began by standing next to the truck, totally on her own, looking a little bit helpless. Next, DeGeneres told her to start unloading some boxes.
With her heavily pregnant belly, Amy grabbed the first box from the back of the truck. The intention was to drop the box “accidentally,” in front of bystanders, and then to see whether anybody would assist her. Unfortunately, there was no-one passing by at that moment.
So Amy strutted out into the road clutching the cardboard box, trying to attract attention to herself. “Yeah that’s right, go into the middle of the road and do it — that’s perfect,” DeGeneres said into her ear, making the studio audience roar with laughter.
As a couple of cars drove by, Amy took the opportunity to drop the box, spilling its contents all across the street. Surrounded by pieces of clothing and looking like a real damsel-in-distress, she started to wave frantically at passing cars. But no-one stopped.
Next, DeGeneres told her colleague to grab a second box from the truck, to draw even more attention to herself. So Amy waddled over to take another cardboard box. Then, just as she picked it up, its base opened, and a torrent of brightly colored balls cascaded onto the road.
At this point, the studio audience burst out laughing, and DeGeneres sarcastically commiserated with Amy for losing her beloved collection of balls. But even with all of her precious items rolling down the street, no-one came to help the expectant mother.
So, DeGeneres decided that it was time for Amy to get yet another box and let the contents fall onto the pavement. This time, it was office supplies that hit the ground with a crash. DeGeneres told Amy to shout, “Oh no!” really loudly, but still she found herself alone.
There was only one thing left to do. DeGeneres instructed Amy simply to lie down on top of all of her possessions and start crying, in the hope that she would be noticed. Amy did as she was told, wailing loudly as she lay strewn across her fallen belongings.
The hidden camera showed a car simply driving around Amy, before a couple also walked past her, seemingly ignoring the tragic scene. But then, the couple turned around to face Amy, at the same time that another woman arrived to offer her help.
At last, the public had responded to Amy’s cries for help. As the three people gathered around trying to help her get her stuff back into the boxes, the actress remained in character, giving them a spiel all about how she was in Hollywood to make a name for herself.
But before long, she gave it up and revealed what was really going on. “Actually you guys, I work for Ellen DeGeneres,” Amy told the three good Samaritans. “And she wanted to see if somebody would stop and help me, and she wants to give you guys some money for stopping,” she continued.
Then she asked them if they would follow her into the studio in order to receive the reward money, to which they all agreed. The next thing they knew, they were walking onto the stage of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with a live audience whooping and cheering them along.
DeGeneres then presented the three unsuspecting guests with money — staying true to her “Cash for Kindness” promise. It was a way of saying thank you for being good people and stopping to help what they thought was a heavily pregnant woman who was in total crisis.
Each of the good Samaritans walked away with $500, and huge smiles on their faces. DeGeneres’ motto at the end of each show is “be kind to one another,” and there’s no doubt that these three passersby proved that it’s worth it.