A touching video moved millions of people over the holidays. Nearly 30 million people have viewed a YouTube video in which a young guy gives $100 to a supposedly random homeless man named Thomas.
The young man videotaped what happened next with a surveillance camera. As you might expect, the homeless guy headed straight to a liquor store. But instead of buying booze, he bought food which he then shares with others in a local park.
"The best video I have ever seen," said one YouTube user.
Another wrote, "I am crying."
People were so moved by the video they donated more than $135,000 to a campaign that was set up called “Help Thomas To Get A Fresh Start."
But serious doubts are now being raised about the video.
Kevin Nickel is the brother of the so-called homeless guy, whose full name is Kenny Thomas Nickel. He says an acquaintance tipped him off before hand about the video.
Kevin told INSIDE EDITION, "The video is a scam. Days before he contacted me and told me they were going to be shooting a video of my brother."
And a witness who happened to be present when the video was shot in Huntington Beach, California, claims the young man seen handing over $100 actually drove the homeless man to the liquor store.
"The entire video is deceitful and dishonest," the witness was quoted as saying (source: KCBS)
And it seems the homeless guy has money coming from elsewhere too. His brother said they are due to split an inheritance.
Kevin said that the inheritance is "Somewhere around $400,000."
The guy with the bleached hair turns out to be a well-known internet prankster named Josh Paler Lin. He once faked being stabbed on Hollywood Boulevard.
Lin insists the video of the homeless man is real.
INSIDE EDITION's Steven Fabian spoke to Lin. Fabian asked, "Is any part of this video made up?"
Lin replied, "Of course not!"
Fabian then asked, "Eyewitnesses say you drove Thomas to the liquor store. Is that true or not?"
"Definitely not true. Absolutely not," replied Lin.
Fabian also spoke to the homeless man and asked, "Thomas, did you know Josh before this? Did Josh approach you and set this whole thing up?"
He replied, "No sir. I thought it was a college project."
A moving moment of generosity? Or a callous hoax? We may know soon enough.