Influencer Amelia Goldsmith breaks down in tears after strangers reject her offer to pay for their food shopping

Her efforts have divided viewers.
Her efforts have divided viewers. Photo credit: @millyg_fit / TikTok

This article was first published in April 2023.

An influencer who was rebuffed while attempting to pay for strangers' grocery shopping on camera has lamented the rejection on TikTok, saying she felt "super deflated" after being turned down several times. 

Amelia Goldsmith, a fitness influencer from London, took to TikTok to invite her 116,000 followers along as she went to a nearby supermarket, hoping to extend a helping hand to strangers by paying for their shopping. 

In the clip, which has since been viewed more than a million times, Goldsmith filmed herself arriving at her local Sainsbury's, narrating: "I'm going to buy someone's food shop today because it's Wednesday - I just want to cheer someone up. Mid-week slump."

She then filmed herself walking through the supermarket in search of a suitable stranger, noting she was feeling nervous that her offer would be rejected.

Unfortunately for Goldsmith, her efforts were repeatedly declined - with the first man she asked responding to her offer with, "Why?" 

"No, no, no, I really don't need it... there's really no need," he continued hastily, with Goldsmith noting in the footage that he appeared visibly "angry".

After another refusal, where a seemingly flustered woman could be heard saying, "No", Goldsmith said she was considering giving up on her plan, adding that everyone had started "staring" at her at the checkouts.

"I felt so embarrassed and judged," she continued in the captions, her face becoming more and more upset.

On a third try, a woman argued that there were "a lot more deserving people in the world" and that she felt too guilty to accept Goldsmith's offer.

Eventually admitting defeat, Goldsmith instead stocked up on dried pasta and canned sauces to donate to the food bank.

After donating the goods, she filmed herself outside in the carpark, admitting in a candid piece-to-camera that she felt panicked and stressed by the experience. 

"I don't know. I felt like I was expecting someone to be, you know, like overjoyed and grateful and happy for me to pay for their shopping. But obviously that didn't go down well," she said, visibly distressed. 

"I was a little bit, like, taken aback. I think I'm going to cry to be honest... And the second person... she looked at me like I was some absolute idiot, a weirdo. She didn't say anything. But she was like, 'No, no, no' - sort of stern.

"Weird turnout, but I'm still really glad the food can go to those who really need it. I'm just really overwhelmed right now," she continued, her eyes welling up. 

"That was a big challenge for me too, because I find social situations quite hard. So that was really hard for me. Just a lot of emotion," she said, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. 

In the caption of the video, Goldsmith conceded that in hindsight, she could see why people would have differing reactions to her offer. 

"My intentions were purely to brighten up someone's day. I'm still super happy with what I ended up doing and I'll do more of it for sure," she added.

The very beginning of the footage also introduced the concept as her attempting to do "something very nice" for a stranger, but being "deflated" by the response: "This is the result of me wanting to do something very nice and buy someone's food shop. I just felt super deflated and this is the video showing it all," she said in the voice-over. 

The turnout has been compared to a similar saga with Australian content creator Harrison Pawluk, who handed a stranger a bunch of flowers in a viral video - only for the woman to later respond by saying she felt "dehumanised" by the gesture

"It's the patronising assumption that women, especially older women, will be thrilled by some random stranger giving them flowers," the woman told ABC Radio Melbourne.

Goldsmith's video has also proven controversial, prompting a divided response from viewers. While many applauded her kind intentions, others sided with the shoppers and agreed they would have been offended or flustered by the offer.

"I mean, I wouldn't like it either. I'd feel belittled," one said, with a second agreeing: "I think people feel awkward."

A third commented: "I think it's context and circumstance - all these videos online make it look like everyone is grateful and happy to receive this kind of thing but in reality there will be people that feel embarrassed to let someone else pay, or feel guilty, or too proud to accept."

"I'd have also declined as I would rather it went to someone in need but I'd decline in a much nicer way! Definitely focus on the food bank," another suggested, with a fifth noting: "In the nicest possible sense, it's a more helpful act to donate to the food bank. It's OK that you didn't get the thanks, it means more."

Others pointed out that Goldsmith shouldn't have gone to "middle-class" Sainsbury's and instead have tried at a cheaper supermarket, where customers would likely be looking for a bargain or "extremely grateful" for a helping hand.

But a number criticised Goldsmith and questioned her motives, raising the possibility she had simply wanted to perform a gesture of goodwill for views and virality on TikTok.

"Try turning off your phone recorder and do this without getting the affirmation you need from your followers. It will come off as more genuine," said one, with another adding: "I personally wouldn't like it either, the filming puts me off but also I'd think, 'Oh, do I look like I'm poor?'"

However, Goldsmith was still largely praised for her efforts, with several urging her not to be discouraged from doing nice things for others. 

"Please don't let this stop you from trying again or continuing to go out of your way to do kind things in the future. You're such an angel," one viewer wrote. 

At the time of publishing, the video has been viewed more than a million times and amassed almost 3000 comments.