06/25/2014 02:49 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Chinese Millionaire Handed Out $100 Bills To Poor People In NYC

A Chinese millionaire made good on his promise this week to model how the wealthy should give generously to the poor.

Chen Guangbiao, a tycoon who made his fortune from his recycling business, announced earlier this month by taking out ads in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times that he would invite struggling New Yorkers to a free lunch at the swanky Central Park Boathouse on Wednesday.

But before treating his guests to the high-end meal, Chen offered up some other party favors to unsuspecting passersby.

On Tuesday, the mogul hit New York City’s Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in downtown Manhattan, and gave out $100 bills to people passing by, the New York Post reported.

"The important thing to me is not the money I’m donating, but to have people take notice of the plight of poor people," Chen told the paper through a translator. "This, for me, is a journey of gratitude, not a journey of charity."

Some suspicious Gothamites rebuffed his gesture, but others were incredibly grateful.

After listening to street guitarist Derek Dasher play, Chen decided to reward the musician with $100.

"I came up here with a hope, a dream and a bag," Dasher, who recently moved to NYC from Florida, told the Post. "This $100 is going to help me live until I get everything straightened out. I don’t have a dime to my name other than the $100 he gave me."

Chen then took about 200 homeless people from the Mission on Wednesday to a lunch in Central Park that included such decadent entrees as sesame-seed-encrusted tuna and beef filet, NBC New York reported.

The philanthropist also made a donation to the Mission.

The event wasn’t without entertainment.

Chen sang Michael Jackson’s famed "We Are the World" to his guests.

While some have called Chen "eccentric" for his outrageous stunts, advocates say he’s bringing some much-needed hope to a downtrodden community.

"Our thought was if someone wants to treat them to an amazing event," Craig Mayes, executive director of the Mission, told NBC, "something they would never experience on their own, maybe even a kernel of hope that life could be different again, we're in for that reason. That's our motive."

h/t Business Insider

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