What would you do if you walked past a solitary blind woman asking for help?
That’s a question a group of missionaries serving in the Taiwan Taipei Mission recently answered — and hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers are witnessing their kind response. The young elders and sisters were unknowingly filmed during an apparent YouTube social experiment conducted by a trio of Taiwanese young adults.
In the first segment of the video, a woman and two men discuss in Mandarin what it would be like to be blind. One of the men covers his eyes with cotton, dons dark glasses, and with two others at his side, navigates the capital city’s sophisticated public transportation system.
The second segment poses a question: how would a passersby respond to a lone blind person calling out for help?
This time, the young woman (named Shu Ting) covers her eyes, puts on the dark glasses and with white cane in hand stands outside the city’s towering Taipei 101 building.
In a soft but a distinguishable voice she asks in Mandarin Chinese, “Can someone help me?”
Enter the missionaries at about the 10:45 mark in the video, who ask the young woman how they can assist.
Shu Ting can’t see the missionaries, but she immediately picks up on their foreign accents. “You’re not native Taiwanese, right?” she asks.
“We’re Americans” the missionaries answer.
Remaining in character, Shu Ting asks the missionaries to walk her to a place nearby where a friend would be waiting. She takes the arm of a sister missionary, and they begin walking together.
Once they arrive at the designated waiting place, Shu Ting asks the missionaries if they would pose together for a group photo. The elders and sisters happily oblige — and a sister missionary even helps Shu Ting gently brush the hair off her face.
The video then shifts to the two Taiwanese young men who watched Shu Ting interact with the missionaries off camera. They applaud their friend’s successful attempt to find helpful people.
Several viewers posted positive comments below the YouTube video. “Those foreigners are actually LDS missionaries,” wrote one person in Chinese.
“It was good to see the American people helping Shu Ting — very touching,” wrote another.
In an email to his family, Elder Grant Church from South Jordan, Utah, said he and his mission district were visiting the Taipei 101 building on preparation day when they encountered the blind girl asking for help.
“She wanted to go to the front of the 101, so we guided her over there,” wrote Elder Church. “Then she wanted to take a picture with us. We took a picture with her and then waited with her until her friend came and then we left. We didn't think much of it and we kind of just went on with our day.”
Several days later “we woke up to our phones blowing up from investigators and members texting us.” The missionaries’ kind actions were going viral.
“It turns out that ‘blind’ girl wasn't actually blind. She was a part of a social experiment that was being filmed by a big YouTuber in Taiwan,” he wrote.
“Apparently we were the only people who stopped to help this girl and everyone thought it was super touching. At the end of the video she said she didn't know who we were ... but she said she felt a warm feeling as we were helping her and she was super touched.”
“I’m so grateful,” he added, “that we were given that opportunity to serve.”