“Can I help with anything?” See how Londoners react to random acts of kindness

Posted by
Lucy Devine

If an unfamiliar man approached you in the street, what would you do? It's a sad fact, but many of us would be sceptical of his motives and either make a swift diversion or at the very least plead silently "please DO NOT speak to me". 

But would you feel differently if you knew the person actually wanted to do you a favour? Maybe. Or, perhaps the more cynical among us would also view this with caution. Who can blame us, really? "Can I help you with anything?" is a fairly unusual question from a stranger.

But, this is exactly what London-based maths tutor, Joe asked in a social experiment which saw him approaching as many Londoners as possible. In a clip filmed by Action Productions for (a charity that encourages people to take part in and film acts of kindness), Joe walks the streets of London asking the same question: "Can I help you with anything?" 

"Can I help with anything?"

While many were cautious of Joe's motives, he was soon able to help a number of Londoners by buying bus fares, holding an umbrella up for a mother and her baby and acting as a ball boy in a game of tennis.

In a scene that totally floored us, Joe delivered a handmade birthday cake to his friend's house, stating: "We've got to make an effort on people's birthdays. If no-one makes an effort on your birthday it's kind of sad isn't it?" 

Surprise surprise

The video, which was posted on Facebook, gathered an impressive six million likes in less than 24 hours, with many users praising Joe for his kindness. 

Speaking in the clip, Joe said: "It’s a weird request. Worst case scenario is that no one trusts me. I come away with it thinking that I’m not a nice guy.

"People are a bit suspicious, they don’t really want to put themselves in danger to someone who might have ulterior motives."

See the full video below and remember, if you see Joe in the street, he probably just wants to carry your shopping.

Main photo (above):