Viral video compares reaction to collapsed homeless man, businessman
An actor dressed as a homeless man appears in the video ‘The importance of appearances experiment.’ (YouTube / NorniTUBE)
Published Monday, May 12, 2014 8:47PM EDT
Would you rush to help a homeless person if you saw him collapse in the street?
How a stranger's appearance may affect our judgment is made painfully clear in a video that compares people’s reactions to a collapsed homeless man and a collapsed businessman.
The video, published Monday by YouTube user NorniTUBE, shows an actor dressed in jeans, a baggy grey jacket and a thick toque begin to cough before collapsing on a busy walkway. “Aidez-moi” -- help me -- he quietly asks to the dozens of people who walk by him.
While some glance down or even pause momentarily, none stop to assist the man. This goes on, the video says, for another five minutes without any attempts to aid him.
To contrast this, a man in a black shirt and tie is then shown collapsing in a similar coughing fit in the same location. This man is helped immediately. Four people rush to his side in one clip, and a man on a Segway scooter jumps off to help the actor in a second clip.
With Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata playing softly in the background throughout its three-and-a-half minutes, the video pauses between the two demonstrations to show a 2008 clip of a woman collapsed in a New York hospital. Left for 45 minutes on the waiting room floor, the woman later died. “What if it was you?” the video asks.
The hospital clip was originally aired on ABC’s “What Would You Do?”, a hidden-camera show capturing people’s candid reactions to similar situations. The show did a similar segment in 2009 with similar results.
With nearly a half-million views as of 7 p.m. ET and climbing quickly, the video asks viewers to “Share this video to spread awareness and put an end to this phenomenon once and for all.”