The YouTube channel Mediocre Films produces a series of videos titled “Prank It Forward” in which they play positive and thoughtful “pranks” that give back to those in need. In the video below, they partner up with Ascencia Homeless Shelter in Glendale, CA to give a group of almost 30 homeless individuals an unbelievable surprise.
The homeless people were simply invited to a breakfast together at Ascencia, but the team at Mediocre Films had planned an incredible, soothing spa day, set up for after the meal. Manicurists, stylists, massage therapists, and hair stylists were available to pamper and aid the homeless, all in an effort to help them get back on their feet.
As host Greg Benson points out, often times those who have lost everything need a boost of confidence and the assurance that someone cares about them more than anything else. At the end of the video, one of the homeless men who had participated in the spa day approached Benson and said, “Somebody cares. I’m a Vietnam vet. Honorable Discharge. And uh,” and then he paused as tears began to fill his eyes, finishing, “I’m not used to any affection,” before walking away to hide his raw emotion from the camera. This one, simple moment shows how immensely impactful acts of kindness can be in the lives of those who are truly suffering.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that, on any given night during January 2014, there were approximately 578,424 homeless people in the U.S., almost 50,000 of which were veterans. The problem of homelessness is the U.S. affects hundreds of thousands of people every day, and part of the problem is the pervasive social stigma surrounding homelessness. All too often homeless individuals are viewed as less than human by those who pass them on the streets, but many of them ended up there through simple mistakes or through no fault of their own. To be viewed as and treated as a human being with dignity and inherent value is something that homeless individuals are stripped of every, single day. As Benson says at the end of the video, “If you get anything from this video, please, remember to treat your fellow men and women with kindness and dignity.”
The folks at Mediocre Films have done a wonderful job of illuminating the true spirit of the holiday season through this video, encouraging all of us to find a way to give back to those who are less fortunate. As Black Friday looms on the horizon, it’s important to remind ourselves that Thanksgiving is a holiday founded on the idea of celebrating what we already have and are grateful for, not lusting after material items and unbelievable bargains. If possible, consider giving to the homeless community in your area, whether it be a donation of food, time, or clothing; to someone who has nothing, it could mean the world.
Kindness and compassion can be some of the greatest gifts that we both give and receive, and the reactions of the homeless people in the video below are proof that it doesn’t take a miracle to turn someone’s day around.