Recipient of 'random act of kindness' says TikTok trend made him feel like a 'beggar' after stranger pays for his groceries

Recipient of 'random act of kindness' says TikTok trend made him feel like a 'beggar' after stranger pays for his groceries
The checkout at Lidl Harlem.Juliana Kaplan/Insider
  • The recipient of a random act of kindness TikTok trend told ABC News he felt "upset" by the gesture.
  • TikToker Rustam Raziev bought Esa's groceries for him, but Esa told ABC he felt like a beggar.

The recipient of a 'random act of kindness' filmed for a TikTok trend said the exchange left him "upset" and feeling "like a beggar."

A man called Esa was buying groceries when Rustam Raziev filmed himself paying for Esa's items at the checkout for a TikTok video.

@rus.alien 37/60 w/ @alienandcoco #ramadan #melbourne ♬ original sound - Rustam Raziev

Esa, an Afghani refugee who didn't want his full name published, told ABC News Australia he didn't want Raziev to pay for his A$33 ($23) bill and was embarrassed that the interaction was online.

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

He added: "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."


Some TikTokers engaging in a new trend of random acts of kindness, like buying strangers flowers or paying for their shopping, are facing a backlash for "dehumanizing" and patronizing behavior.

Such videos have had hundreds of millions of views.

But frustration from recipients, who don't want to be filmed without their consent and appear insulted by the motivations behind the gesture, is mounting.

Last week, TikToker Harrison Pawluk filmed himself asking a woman, Maree, to hold a bouquet of flowers for her, before walking away in one of these acts of kindness. The video has been viewed 65 million times.

@lifeofharrison I hope this made her day better ❤️ #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #viral #wholesome ♬ original sound - Harrison

But Maree, who also didn't want her full name published, told ABC News she felt "dehumanized" by the gesture.


"There's a lot of these flower TikToks all over the internet," she said. "He interrupted my quiet time, filmed and uploaded a video without my consent, turning it into something it wasn't, and I feel like he is making quite a lot of money through it.

"It's the patronizing assumption that women, especially older women, will be thrilled by some random stranger giving them flowers."

Raziev and Pawluk didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.