You'll probably recognize Richard Gere as the veteran actor from movies such as Pretty Woman and An Officer and a Gentleman. However, recently Richard has been in the headlines for an entirely different reason -- his supposed charity work for the homeless.
Reports began to circulate after an "unofficial Richard Gere" Facebook page reported that the star had taken to the streets, putting himself in the place of the suffering homeless which are all-too common a sight in New York City.
As shown above, the post claims to quote Richard Gere as saying he went undercover onto the streets of New York, in an attempt to feel what it was like to be homeless and living rough.
"No one noticed me."
"It's an experience I'll never forget."
In a statement on the lack of attention offered to the homeless, the site encouraged the notion that we should help those in need.
"So many times we forget how blessed we are."
"And if we can help someone in need, we should."
The post was heartwarming, socially-conscious and presented Richard Gere in a great light, suggesting that after experiencing the hardship the homeless suffer every day, he walked the streets giving $100 to every homeless person he saw.
The post concludes with:
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Truly touching words -- meaningful, insightful and complete fiction. As it was recently revealed by Richard Gere himself that the pictures of him on the street were from his new movie: Time Out of Mind, in which he plays a homeless man.
Richard showed a true strength of character by completely debunking the rumors that he had generously offered money to various homeless people after spending some time amongst them.
“While the story that accompanied the photograph was somewhat fictional (especially the $100 hand-outs), it seemed to have touched something important in people. I'd like to find out what that is and what we can do together to make something good and meaningful happen for our homeless brothers and sisters."
Other celebrities may not have been so quick to brush off the media attention, but Richard made it clear he wasn't going to take credit for the generosity.
However, Gere certainly took notice of the positive reaction to the apparent kindness directed towards the homeless, announcing that something does need to be done to help those suffering on the streets.
Gere suggested the story accompanying the photograph was "somewhat fictional" because he has in fact spent time on the streets preparing for his role.
In fact, the actor was so convincing in his role as an impoverished street dweller that a kindly French tourist took pity on him, offering him the leftovers of her pizza.
Karine Gombeau only realized days later that she had taken pity on the huge Hollywood name when she saw online photos of herself alongside Gere.
“People came from all over the station and told my husband to stop filming,” Gombeau said. “People came out of the subways. It was very confusing.”
42-year-old mother Karine Gombeau should be commended for her actions. Yes, it turns out the homeless man she took pity on was Richard Gere, but her sincerity and generosity shows a kindness which we should all live up to.
Gombeau was quoted as saying:
“It leaves me really sad to know we waste food and they have nothing. It really moves me.”
Surely we can all learn something from this small act of generosity and from Gere himself, learning that which "we can do together to make something good and meaningful happen."
The veteran actor may not have offered $100 a piece to the homeless citizens of New York City, but perhaps through his new role in Time Out Of Mind, Richard Gere has inadvertently drawn attention to the homeless epidemic in New York.
Perhaps you should take Karine Gombeau's advice and pay more attention to the homeless people around you... even if you're just checking whether or not the homeless person is Richard Gere in disguise.