Aussie woman given flowers in viral stunt blasts TikTok star

Shopper filmed sitting by herself in a mall before receiving a bouquet from a stranger in viral ‘random act of kindness’ TikTok slams the stunt: ‘I felt dehumanised… and I didn’t even want the flowers’

  • TikTok influencer Harrison Pawluk gave shopper ‘Maree’ a bunch of flowers
  • The ‘random act of kindness’ has been been viewed 58.8 million times 
  • But Maree says she felt ‘dehumanised, and was a bit offended’ by the act
  • Pawluk, 22, said witnessing poverty during recent Los Angeles trip inspired him

A shopper who featured in a viral TikTok video being given flowers from a young stranger as she drank her coffee has spoken out to say she felt dehumanised by the experience.

Social media influencer Harrison Pawluk, 22, interrupted the woman named ‘Maree’ as she drank a takeaway cup of coffee in the Emporium Melbourne mall, and asked her to hold the bouquet. 

‘Sorry to bother you, is it OK if you can just hold these?’ he asked. Pawluk then put his backpack on the ground and pulled out a black parka before walking off and leaving Maree with the flowers.

‘Have a lovely day,’ he said as a friend filmed Maree watching him walk away with bemusement before her expression changed to one that was wrongly interpreted as sadness. 

Pawluk, a university business student who works in retail, shared the video on his popular TikTok account and the clip, filmed on June 21, has so far been viewed 58.8million times. 

But Maree said the whole experience made her feel ‘dehumanised’ and articles about the stunt portrayed her as a ‘pathetic old woman’.

‘At first it was just a bit of a joke to me and then I’ve sort of felt dehumanised,’ she told Melbourne ABC presenter Virginia Trioli.

‘It really doesn’t even seem like it’s me now, it’s just this person, it’s just not really me, I don’t really even take it personally anymore but I just think that other women, especially older women should be aware that if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.

‘I suppose I am a bit offended, really, to tell you the truth.’

I hope this made her day better ❤️ #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #viral #wholesome

Harrison Pawluk, 22, interrupted Maree as she drank a takeaway cup of coffee in the Emporium Melbourne mall, and asked her to hold the bouquet – before leaving it with her and wishing her a nice day

Social media influencer offers apology

Harrison Pawluk’s manager Taylor Reilly offered an apology to Maree

‘He whole-heartedly apologises to Maree if she was offended by what he did and urges her to contact him privately so he can personally apologise. 

‘If she requests him to take down the video he will do that

‘He would not want something designed to spread love and compassion to cause anyone concern’

Maree, who doesn’t use social media, said the TikTok portrayal of the incident being a random act of kindness was wrong.

‘These artificial things are not random acts of kindness really,’ she said.

‘It’s really not about me anymore, I just think this whole idea that this is a random act of kindness is to be challenged.’ 

Maree said she noticed another young man had been filming the interaction.

‘I said, “Did you film that? They said, “No, no”. They obviously had.’

Maree said she didn’t even like the flowers. 

‘They just sort of looked at me and I actually even said to them – it was a friendly discussion – “Do you want these flowers, I don’t really want them” and I didn’t want to carry them home in a tram really, to be quite frank.

‘They weren’t to my taste, really. 

‘They didn’t want them but the person – I now know as Harrison – came along at that stage and said something about “I hope you enjoy the flowers” and off they went and that was it.’

Maree said she felt worse after articles were written about the video, including by this masthead. 

She said: ‘There I was, this pathetic old woman, drinking her cup, out of a cardboard cup – it was just late in the day and they weren’t giving out proper glasses. 

‘It’s all part of the nastiness of social media, isn’t it?’ 

Maree’s other half received a text message that night from a friend and saw the video online without giving it much thought.

‘That night a friend texted my partner and we had a look and I didn’t think much of it,’ Maree said.

Maree (pictured) who featured in the  viral TikTok video receiving flowers from a young stranger said she felt ‘dehumanised’ by the experience

‘I thought, “Oh, well, who watches these things”, went to bed, forgot about it really… because I don’t do TikTok.’  

Pawluk’s 21-year-old Brisbane-based manager, Taylor Reilly, told Daily Mail Australia said his videos featuring acts of kindness were usually well received.

‘It’s extremely rare for there to be controversy with these, probably because it went viral,’ he said.

‘Harrison generally gets nothing but gratitude.’ 

Reilly offered an apology to Maree and said Pawluk would be prepared to take down the video.

‘He whole-heartedly apologises to Maree if she was offended by what he did and urges her to contact him privately so he can personally apologise,’ he said in a statement.

‘If she requests him to take down the video he will do that. 

‘He would not want something designed to spread love and compassion to cause anyone concern.’

Pawluk, who has three million social media followers, last month told Daily Mail Australia he was inspired by witnessing homelessness during a recent trip to LA.

‘I was recently inspired to change the nature of my content and use my platform to do some good and spread some kindness,’ he said.

‘Not enough creators utilise their platforms for good.

‘I want to hopefully use mine as a vessel spreading good and hopefully inspiring a few people along the way.’

Harrison Pawluk’s (pictured) June 21 video has already been viewed 58.8million times, getting 11.1million likes

The influencer told Daily Mail Australia a recent trip to Los Angeles (pictured) where he witnessed poverty inspired him to make videos featuring acts of kindness

Pawluk’s TikTok and YouTube videos are making him about $10,000 to $15,000 a month through brand partnerships and sponsored posts. 

Reilly, who negotiates sponsorship, said popular TikTok influencers like Pawluk uploaded a video everyday targeted at a very specific audience.

‘Harrison isn’t out to fake his videos in order to get a viral video or an amazing reaction like a lot of creators do,’ he said.

‘He’s doing this content because he genuinely believes, sometimes one person at a time, that he’s making a difference.

‘He’s recording these kind acts because he loves creating content.

‘He hopes to inspire other people to also act and spread kindness – the snowball effect.’

Pawluk is hoping his ‘random acts of kindness’ on camera yield him some revenue.

‘My new goal is to find like minded businesses that want to also spread kindness to partner with me,’ he said.

Pawluk’s 21-year-old manager Taylor Reilly (pictured), who negotiates sponsorship, told Daily Mail Australia said his videos featuring acts of kindness were usually well received

Pawluk has offered an apology to Maree and is willing to take down the TikTok video

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