Earlier this month, we shared with you the touching story of Eric, the selfless man without a home that “won” the lottery.
A video of the heart-touching event, created by popular online prankster Magic of Rahat, has been watched nearly 15 million times — provoking both grown men and women to cry. Rahat wrote on his Facebook page that he was flooded by so many messages and emails asking how they could help Eric that he set up an online fundraiser where people could donate money.
In less than three weeks, more than 2,600 people donated in excess of $42,000 to the online campaign — a massive $22,000 more than the original goal.
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“I’m honestly blown away by your generosity. Stay tuned for a follow-up to see what this money will do for Eric,” Rahat wrote on Facebook. He added, “Regardless if you contributed, your viewership and sharing of this video have helped change a man’s life, and you should feel proud! Thank you!”
After the initial video went viral, Rahat answered questions on a Reddit Ask Me Anything, sharing that he’s taken Eric out to dinner at Olive Garden and even put him up in a hotel for two weeks. He also explained why he set up such an elaborate scheme instead of just giving away the money. (Rahat arranged for a store cashier to pretend that the lottery ticket given to Eric was a $1,000 winner. Eric could barely hold back his disbelief and after counting his money, he turned to Rahat in the most heartwarming way, “I would like to share it.”)
“I wanted to create a moment of magic with him winning the lottery,” Rahat wrote. “I could’ve just went up to him and gave him $1,000, but I wanted to do it in a unique way.”