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Passersby give their coats to freezing child in viral Norway charity campaign

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Passers-by give their coats to a freezing child in a now viral social experiment. (YouTube)

A young boy sat alone at an Oslo bus stop, shivering without a winter coat but it was not long before passersby wrapped their own coats around him. 

The now viral social experiment was devised by the Norwegian wing of SOS Children's Villages to raise awareness of the plight of children in war-torn Syria without safe shelter in a frigid winter, according to the organization. 

The campaign asks: "What would you do if you saw a freezing child?" 


In the video, 11-year-old actor Johannes sits alone at a bus stop, wearing only a long sleeve and jeans, visibly shivering. His coat was stolen and he is waiting for his teacher, he tells passersby, in the experiment captured on a hidden camera.

The video was shot over two chilly days, according to the organization. 

Several of the transit riders give their own coats, scarves and gloves, unaware that a camera is recording their gesture.

"Here you go. It's nice and warm," says one woman, who wraps her scarf around the boy.

According to the organization, out of some 25 passersby, just three did not offer some sort of help.

"There were so many nice people," Johannes told a Norwegian newspaper. "We filmed for two days, and I thought maybe only three or four of them would give me their jacket altogether. But there are many more who did it. Many more than those who are shown in the video."

SOS Norway representative Synne Rønning says the campaign is an "eye-opener." 

"People who watch it ask themselves: 'What would I do?'

"The goal was to touch upon the fear of becoming numb to crises that don't affect you directly."

According to the Local, Rønning said Johannes volunteered for the role and was not harmed by the cold. 

He received a small salary "but he wanted to do it because of the situation for the children in Syria," she said.

"He's an engaged 11-year-old boy, and his family are already sponsors of SOS Barnebyer," she said. 

"The family has a big heart and they really wanted to contribute."

The organization hopes the viral video will encourage donations to its emergency appeal to provide shelter, food and warm clothing for displaced families in Syria.

Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of a kind gesture to a stranger? What do you think of the video?

Tags: Advertising, Campaign, Hidden Camera, Norway, Oslo, Reaction, SOS Children, Syria, Viral

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