Homeless man `wins` lottery, first thought is to share prize - FOX 13 News

Homeless man `wins` lottery, first thought is to share prize

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Once in a while, a story comes along that affirms there are good people in the world. There are people who are genuinely grateful for the smallest things, with the instinct to share even when they have next to nothing.

Self-proclaimed "magician prankster" and YouTube sensation Magic of Rahat noticed a homeless man hanging around a shopping center he frequents. When Rahat asked around about him, those who knew Eric had nothing but good things to say about him – commending his great attitude and demeanor, despite his circumstances.

Rahat decided to show Eric a bit of kindness. He partnered with a local convenience store clerk to pull it off.

Rahat took a losing lottery ticket and presented it to Eric, who was huddled outside on the curb. The prankster told him it was a "winning" ticket and said he didn't know how much he'd won. Rahat encouraged Eric to take the ticket and cash in the winnings.

Eric repeatedly asked Rahat, "You sure my man?" When he saw that Rahat was serious, he relented and said, "That's cool my friend."

They entered the store together. After taking the ticket, the clerk told Eric that he just won $1,000. Eric stared at him in complete disbelief, as the clerk proceeded to dole out $100 bills on the counter before him.

The shock didn't wear off for quite a while. Eric slowly shed his gloves from shaking hands saying, "You're kidding me, right?" over and over again. After picking up the money, he immediately turned to Rahat and tried to give him half of the prize.

"I want to share it my friend. Got to share it with my man," Eric said. "This right here is enough for me. I would like to share it with you big guy."

Rahat refused.

"You earned it," Rahat said. "You won the lottery man."

Eric blinked back tears, seemingly unable to comprehend that the money he held in his hands was truly his - was just for him. Eric broke down and cried, but hugged Rahat right back when he offered an embrace.

"I've been doing this a long time – a long time," Eric told Rahat. "Never, never had a friend or somebody do what you did back there."

For this man and many like him, a gift like this can be life changing. But had Eric not been a "nice and respectable guy" to those he met each day, Rahat might have never decided to extend this bit of kindness.

Once in a while, we are privileged to see that matter how hard life gets, the good in people remains.

The Magic of Rahat video went viral last week, inspiring Internet users around the world to ask about where they might be able to make donations for Eric, to try and improve his circumstances. 

Rahat set up a Fundly account for Eric on Thursday, with a goal of $20,000 to help Eric get back on his feet. By Tuesday afternoon, the generous donations surpassed $35,000.

TO MAKE A DONATION: Eric's Fundraising by Magic of Rahat

He and his photographer/editor Trey took Eric out to lunch on Sunday and shared the image on Instagram for followers to see. Looks like the beginning of a great friendship.

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