Homeless Child Ignored in Freezing Cold for Hours Helped by Unlikely 'Hero' (VIDEO)

I live in New York City and if you'd asked me a day ago if hundreds of people would have walked by a child freezing in the winter cold with only a plastic bag for comfort, I would have said, Fugheddaboutit. New Yorkers may have a reputation for being disaffected and rude, but in reality, we're all just snuggle bunnies who would go out of our way to help anyone. Apparently I am dead wrong. In another one of those YouTube "social experiments" a group called OckTV set a young boy down on a freezing Manhattan street in only a T-shirt and watched if anyone would help. As dozens of people pass by him, only one person stops to help him, and it's someone you may not expect.

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Take a look at the video (skip to 2:50 if you want to get the gist of it):

Wow. Breaks your heart, doesn't it? Why would so many people pass this child by? How could people be so heartless and cruel? Would this have happened in other cities and towns?

As a longtime New Yorker, let me try to defend my fellow New Yorkers for just a moment. New Yorkers are very accustomed to scams -- there probably isn't anyone in this city who has been here for any length of time who hasn't tried to help someone who turned out to be pulling a fast one.

Let me give you my own example. A couple of years ago, I sat on the subway when a child of about 7 approached me asking for money. Shocked to see a child begging on the subway alone (not something you see every day), I said to the child, "Why don't you sit here and come with me?" I planned on getting off at the next stop and calling police.

Immediately, the boy ran to the back of the car and grabbed an adult. "She tried to get me to go with her!" the boy screamed. It instantly became clear that the boy had an adult watching over him -- someone who was complicit in his begging routine. But suddenly I looked like a pedophile.

So, honestly, I don't know if I would have stopped for this child. I would hope I would have, but like most of the passersby that day, they probably assumed the child had been sent out to beg and was being watched.

Also, I'd like some proof that the camera was hidden. It doesn't seem so from the vantage point. Watch how the camera sweeps across the sidewalk, not something that can be done if it's hidden, though perhaps it was a Go Pro. Even so, that would give the appearance of an adult hovering nearby. People walking by a freezing child being filmed wouldn't draw any attention -- they'd just think it was a movie, a video, or a social experiment!

As for the homeless man who comes over and tries to help him -- honestly, it is wonderful and brought tears to my eyes.

But was this homeless man really not part of going on? If not, why does he sit there watching the child for so long? He first shows up in the video at :36 and appears to stay throughout the entire experiment -- which according to the filmmakers is two hours.

Also, how does the boy stay out in 5 degree temps for two hours without getting hypothermia?

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Frankly, I have a lot of questions about this video, so I won't pass judgment on my fellow New Yorkers. I also know how we've seen everything and we do get a bit jaded about it.

I think if this had been a 4-year-old it would have been a completely different story. But the boy, whom the homeless man somehow posits is 7-years-old despite him appearing much older, could pass for a teen, and the city is full of transient teens.

As for the homeless man, if his reaction is real, then good on him, and add him to the list of homeless people in social experiments who come to the rescue. But, erm, why'd it take him two hours?

What would you have done?

Image via OCKTV/YouTube

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