In a social experiment caught on video, a homeless man gives the jacket off his back to a seemingly homeless teenager.
Putulik Qumaq, an Inuk man originally from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, in Northern Canada, has been homeless in Montreal, Canada for 17 years, CBC reports. When he saw what appeared to be a homeless teenage boy standing outside on a snowy day, Qumaq gave him a jean jacket that he had been wearing. Since Qumaq has been on the streets for so long, he said he wanted to help someone else who was in a similar position.
"It's cold,” Qumaq explained to CBC. “Like myself, I'm homeless too for all these years, but I had a feeling.”
However, the teenager was not homeless. He was participating in a social experiment directed by his brother, Angel Azmeer.
"We wanted to see what people would do if a 14-year-old took to the street asking for money," Azmeer explained.
The brothers were surprised at what they observed.
"Some gave a bit of money, but most people just ignored him,” Azmeer recalled. “We were shocked that the one person to really help was homeless himself."
Qumaq regularly visits Open Door homeless center, a Montreal shelter that provides necessities, such as food, clothing and companionship, to those in need.
"They help me a lot," Qumaq said. "Over the years, I've been struggling."
David Chapman, the assistant director at the center, said he sees Qumaq almost every day.
"It's not an easy road if you have been homeless for a while and you are trying to break out of that world,” Chapman explained. "But he continually is making an effort to do that.”
Due to the video, Qumaq has become a local celebrity at the center. Staff said they are not surprised at the compassion Qumaq demonstrated towards another person in need.
"I see them helping individuals all the time,” volunteer Frank Paris said. “Here, showing love, brotherly love amongst each other."
"Often, those who live on the street are people with really big hearts, and this is an aspect that's often not seen," Chapman said of the residents. "We see a lot of it because we get to know them. […] in fact, they are some of the most lovely people you'll ever meet."