Whether we intend to or not, it’s easy for us to take everyday luxuries for granted. Rob Bliss can certainly attest to that after a conversation with a homeless man on the streets of New York City in December 2017. However, not long after their encounter, the latter was approached by a stranger with a mysterious package.
A resident of the Big Apple, Bliss is a videographer and film director who runs his own viral marketing agency, named Rob Bliss Creative. The company was founded back in October 2011, during which time it has worked with recognizable names such as Chrysler, Up TV and Amtrak. As well as that, Bliss has also offered his services to non-profit organizations, producing popular viral content.
Rob Bliss Creative’s marketing campaigns have earned more than 100 million views on YouTube, proving their effectiveness. “Our methodology is simple,” reads a statement on the About page of the company’s website. “We believe our content has to pull, not be pushed. Viral content is like a drug, you want to deliver the strongest effect as quickly as possible.”
“The more we can make our viewer experience emotion, the more likely they are to share our content,” the statement continued. “This leads to millions of people sharing our work themselves, creating unparalleled engagement and earned media coverage.”
Bliss certainly showcased his entrepreneurial attributes before creating the agency, as he also founded a non-profit organization that put together impressive community events. Those included setting up a 500-foot water slide in the middle of a street in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and organizing music festivals spanning several days.
Furthermore, the New York native has his own YouTube channel as well, started on August 29, 2012. Despite hosting just six videos, though, Bliss’ content has earned more than 37 million views in that time, capturing the interest of the online community. However, one of his videos proved particularly heart-warming.
Titled “How to Hijack Amazon Prime Now for Good,” Bliss felt compelled to use the hugely popular website’s fast delivery service for a great cause. Published on December 12, 2017, the video opens with the director outlining his goals for the day ahead.
“Lately there’s been a large development of smartphone apps that will deliver products to you not in one to two days, but in one to two hours,” Bliss began. “You can have pretty much anything you want delivered. But meanwhile, we’ve had a 40 percent increase in homelessness.”
“Say you’re on your way to work, and you see someone who you think could really use a sleeping bag,” Bliss continued. “One, where are you going to find one of those, and two, even if you find it, buy it and deliver it, aren’t you now going to be late? So you end up with thousands of people walking by a guy with no socks on in the middle of December, and no-one does anything.”
With that in mind, Bliss then delved into his ambitious plan. “What if we could repurpose the same apps we use to bring ourselves ice-cream and iPhone chargers to finally bring that guy a pair of socks?” he asked. “Would Amazon actually deliver it? We don’t have a real address. I had to go find out.”
From there, the director took to the streets of New York with a hidden camera to speak to homeless people, asking what they required ahead of Christmas. The first man he approached, named Jack, said he was in need of a new pair of socks and shoes. “Sounds good, let me see what I can do all right?” Bliss responded, before walking away.
Moments later, Bliss took out his phone and ordered the items in question on Amazon’s Prime Now service. “Give the package to Jack,” he wrote in the Special Delivery Instructions box. “The guy sitting outside with the grey beard and brown jacket.”
Some time after that, an Amazon courier walked up to Jack and delivered the items with a friendly pat on the shoulder, much to the latter’s disbelief. “How do I thank him?” the homeless man asked, before taking a closer look at his new shoes and socks.
From there, the video cuts to several other people receiving items ordered by Bliss earlier in the day, including a couple sitting on the sidewalk with their dog. Meanwhile another man, who asked for long johns and a backpack, was overjoyed when his package arrived. And much like Jack, they were all acknowledged by the couriers, whether it be a handshake or a fist bump.
After that, Bliss approached one more person and asked the same question, only to receive a heartbreaking answer. “They stole my clothes last night with my phone and everything, and now I have nothing,” he responded. Undeterred, the director made one last order, which clearly meant the world to the man in question. The video then came to a close with a message that read, “You can help too.”
Bliss’ video has earned more than two million views and 64,000 likes since being posted on YouTube, as well as more than 4,600 comments. While most of those were fairly positive, one user in particular felt the need to reiterate the director’s message. “This isn’t a social experiment, this isn’t a prank, this is pure kindness,” wrote user Jaspev.
“This is exactly what we need,” Jaspev continued. “Please, if you have the funds, at least give one person in need some money, food, or just a blanket. Anything can help, even just saying sorry or starting a conversation.”
When reflecting on that day, Bliss spoke of how a simple gesture can make an indelible impact on those who need it. “You would see someone and they would look so depressed, but as soon as you acknowledged them they lit up,” he recalled to Today in December 2017.
With that in mind, he then shifted his focus to those who made the deliveries, noting their kindness to the recipients. “I was definitely surprised by how sweet and caring the couriers were,” Bliss continued. “I was concerned that the couriers would have a lot of hesitation or stigmatize these people, but they took to it like fish to water. You could tell they enjoyed it and it meant something to them.”
While the New York native continues to run his agency, he hopes his actions before Christmas can inspire others. In particular, he hopes rival delivery services to Amazon will follow suit. By doing so, they could further help those in need of the little things we often take for granted.