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Former Homeless Man From Viral Prank Video Uses His Fame For Good

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Eric, a formerly homeless man, epitomizes the power of paying it forward. After being on the receiving end of a stranger's selfless gift earlier this year, Eric's spreading generosity to those who need it most.

In March, a video produced by Magic of Rahat and featuring Eric "winning" the lottery went viral. However, the $1,000 he received wasn't from a lucky ticket -- it was an elaborate, feel-good "prank" executed by YouTube trickster Rahat. Jokes aside, viewers were blown away by Eric's response to the money -- he immediately wanted "to share it." Rahat then started an online donation page which, to date, has raised more than $60,000 to give Eric a fresh start.

Now, Eric is using his good fortune to help those in circumstances he knows all too well.

In Magic of Rahat's latest video, Eric approaches an unsuspecting homeless man performing music outside of a store and offers him a hotel room to stay in. The man, overwhelmed by the proposal and also a little suspicious of a stranger's immense compassion, hesitantly agrees to take Eric up on his offer.

Once the two are in the hotel lobby, the homeless man learns the $1,000 gift out of Eric's own pocket will buy him four weeks in a warm bed. The two share an emotional embrace after the man sees the space he can call home for the next month.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if every homeless person's story had a life-changing twist like Eric's? There are plenty of people who could use it.

A recent report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness shows that while rates of homelessness have been declining modestly on a national level, there are still more than 610,000 homeless people in the U.S., and regions have experienced varying levels of improvement.

Learn about how you can help a homeless shelter in your area do its work by visiting the Helping the Needy website.

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