A woman in Melbourne, Australia said she felt "dehumanised" and humiliated after she was given a bouquet of flowers out of the blue and had her reaction filmed without her consent just for a “random act of kindness” TikTok video.
What video showed
The June 20 video showed TikTok content creator Harrison Pawluk approaching the woman, identified only as Maree, in a mall.
He requested she hold a bouquet of flowers for him while he put on a jacket.
Pawluk then wished her a good day and walked away.
Maree’s shocked reaction was caught on camera as she was left holding onto the flowers.
The video was spliced in such a way that she appeared to react emotionally to the flowers.
Her last name has been omitted as she did not disclose her surname.
Pawluk's TikTok account indicated that he is 22 and from Melbourne.
@lifeofharrison I hope this made her day better ❤️ #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #viral #wholesome ♬ original sound - Harrison
Reactions to video
The video has been watched more than 62 million times within close to a month.
The video's caption presumptively said: “I hope this made her day better.”
It has attracted largely positive comments.
One commenter wrote: “Wow that was so beautiful I swear I would cry.”
Woman's response to video
However, Maree was cynical of Pawluk’s intentions after seeing the video appear online and slammed the smarm on show.
She told ABC Radio Melbourne that “these artificial things are not random acts of kindness”.
She said: “He interrupted my quiet time, filmed and uploaded a video without my consent, turning it into something it wasn’t... I feel he is making quite a lot of money through it.”
“It’s the patronising assumption that... older women will be thrilled by some random stranger giving them flowers.”
Was told she was not filmed
Maree added that she had ask if she was being filmed, and was apparently told “no”.
She also said she offered the flowers back to Pawluk.
“I didn’t want to carry them home on the tram, to really be quite frank,” Maree said.
“But I wasn’t given that opportunity.”
She added: "I think other women, especially older women, should be aware that if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody."
“I don’t do any Facebook, Instagram, TikTok — anything — and yet it happened to me.”
Maree said she “didn’t think much of it” after she was informed by a friend about the video when it went up online in the evening of the incident.
But she said she “felt dehumanised” after seeing the TikTok video featured in media reports describing her as an “elderly woman” with a “heartbreaking tale”.
“I feel like clickbait,” she said.
TikTok content creator response
Pawluk responded via a spokesperson in a statement that said the video was “designed to spread love and compassion”.
The content he created stemmed from him bearing witness to "the extent" of "poverty and homelessness" in Los Angeles, where he recently visisted.
Following the trip, he was inspired to create content concentrated on “random acts of kindness”, the statement added.
“He offers flowers and pays for complete strangers’ groceries.”
“So far Harrison has only encountered gratitude for what he has done, however it is clear in this case someone is upset. He wholeheartedly apologises to Maree if she was offended by what he did and urges her to contact him privately so he can personally apologise. If she requests him to take down the video he will do that.”
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