Recipient of “random act of kindness” says TikTok trend made him feel like a ‘beggar’

Kawter Abed
Stranger pays for man's groceries

A man who was recently filmed in a “random act of kindness” TikTok video, says the trend made him feel like a “beggar” after a stranger paid for his groceries.

Esa was buying his groceries when TikToker Rustav Razief filmed himself paying for the man’s items at the checkout.

Esa, who’s an Afghan refugee residing Australia, told ABC News Australia that he felt “embarrassed” that the interaction was online, and he didn’t want Razief to pay for his items.

“I checked [it] out and saw my video, which really creeped me out and made me upset,” Esa said. “Because it looked like I’m kind of a desperate person who needs help or I’m a beggar.”

He continued: “I have friends and family around the world, they’ve been calling me saying: ‘Oh, you need help’ and ‘What happened to you? Someone’s paying for your food’. I was a bit traumatized.”

TikTok reacts to “random acts of kindness” video

The video has over 6.1 million views and received mixed reactions from commenters.

“Thank you for doing this – keep it up. I just know that it brightens their day just that little bit” one user wrote.

“I wish there were many people like you” another user commented.

Others were unhappy with Esa being filmed without his consent.

“Dude he didn’t want to be filmed!” one user wrote. Another user added “why is the video still up” following Esa’s reaction to the viral clip.

This is not the first time a “random act of kindness” backfires.

Just last week, TikToker Harrison Pawluk filmed himself asking a woman to hold a bouquet of flowers, before walking away. The woman in the video, Maree, later told ABC News Australia that she felt “dehumanized” after being filmed without her consent.

While Pawluk made a public apology to Maree, Razief has yet to respond to Esa’s comments. Both TikTokers continue to share “random acts of kindness” videos.

“Random acts of kindness” TikTok trend explained

The popular trend involves TikTokers doing random acts of kindness for strangers, such as complimenting strangers, buying them flowers, or paying for their shopping.

TikTokers who create such videos often face backlash for “dehumanizing” and “patronizing” behavior. Another issue people have with this trend, is that many of the videos are posted and shared without consent of the strangers that are being filmed.

Maree who was in Pawluk’s video, said she asked the TikToker whether she was being filmed, and was told “no.”

In addition, the videos that fall under the “random acts of kindness” category often gain millions of views, which makes people question the true intentions of TikTokers like Pawluk and Razief.

What do you make of this trend? We would love to know.