Instant Karma



On 19 December 2013 on a street corner in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Yogi Omar had little money because of his purchase of plane tickets to Guangzhou, China, so he could see his dying father, but he decided to offer food and clothing to a scruffy panhandler who asked him for change. Mr. Omar, age 30 and co-owner of InspirationALL Talent and Modelling Group, said, “I wanted to give him food more than anything else, really.” The panhandler turned down his offer of help and instead asked Mr. Omar what he could do for him. The “panhandler” was a wealthy man who for three hours a day for seven days during the holiday season pretends to be down and out to see who is willing to help those who need help. Mr. Omar stated, “He said, ‘I do this with my family every year.’” Mr. Omar added, “They just want to see who cares about the homeless. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’” The wealthy man offered to help with the expensive airplane tickers to Guangzhou, China, but Mr. Omar declined the offer. The wealthy man then asked what he paid for rent. Mr. Omar stated, “I said $469. I was joking, but that’s what I pay. He just whipped out this fanny pack and gave me $469 in cash. I was like, ‘Is this serious?’ I was really stunned at that point.” The man, a Caucasian in his 50s, stayed anonymous: “He said, ‘That’s part of the deal: I have to remain anonymous. Just keep doing good things.’ I guess that’s what karma is — you don’t expect anything back.” Mr. Omar, who did use the money to pay his rent as the wealthy man had wanted, said, “I was very, very stunned. I was thinking about this the whole time. I was like, ‘I don’t know what to say. What do I do?’ I thought, I’m going to tell people … it’s weird but wonderful.” Mr. Omar has helped the homeless before — he said that once a teenager wrote a poem for him because he stopped and listened to him. Mr. Omar said, “I just feel a lot of times people don’t have the time or opportunity to be heard.” Does he want to know the wealthy man’s name? “I do and I don’t. I want to thank him properly but I don’t because that is what he wants … Inspiration comes from anywhere.”

For Further Information: Kelly Sinoski, “Scruffy Vancouver panhandler’s random acts of kindness.” Vancouver Sun (British Columbia, Canada). 21 December 2013

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