Stranger Surprises Homeless People on Streets using Amazon Prime Now


The last time I was getting ready to make an online purchase, my friend told me to do so through her Amazon Prime account so I could get the free shipping– a savings of at least $10.

It’s precisely because of such offers that Amazon went from a modest discount marketplace to one of the biggest disruptors retail has ever faced.

Technology today has afforded us the expectation of instant gratification, but physics can’t be bent to get ordered goods to you faster. This keeps us visiting physical stores every time we needed something faster than the two-day standard.

Amazon has been working for the last decade at steadily decreasing its order processing and delivery systems. Outpacing veteran companies like UPS and even USPS, in some areas, Amazon now promises deliveries in a few hours.

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Amazon does this by using couriers to deliver packages. Couriers in the United States historically ran paperwork from office to office in places like Wall Street.

The courier had become an endangered species until recently. Services like UberEats, Postmates, and Amazon Prime realized the additional human power cut down on lead time and got desired products to consumers faster.

Bob Bliss, a creator on YouTube who lives in New York City, is on a mission to repurpose the convenience apps we use daily to do a bit of extra good in his community. In a touching 4-minute video, Bliss sets up a familiar situation:

Suppose you’re on your way to work when you pass by someone who is homeless and clearly needs something specific. Not only do you not have it, to get it would disrupt your day and responsibilities. So, like so many of us, you keep walking.

Bliss showed us that we don’t have to just keep walking anymore. Thanks to the special courier service with Amazon Prime, you can now order specific items and have them delivered to the individual, even if the recipient doesn’t have an address.

In the long-form compilation video, Bliss approached various homeless individuals in busy areas. He asked them what supplies they needed and their name, then he walked away with a non-committed promise to see what “he could do.”

Bliss then ordered whatever they said they needed — socks, long johns, shoes, a sleeping bag, whatever they mentioned.

In the delivery instructions to Amazon, Bliss informed the courier of the person’s name, where they were located, and any other descriptive features to help with identification.

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Then, invariably, a courier, usually on a bicycle, arrived with a sealed bag from Amazon, a smile, and well wishes. The recipients were left amazed, some overcome with tears.

“How do I thank him?” one recipient called out after the courier. The courier had no information to give.

Bliss posted the video to his YouTube page and has gained a lot of attention for its touching message. The Next Web (TNW) reached out to Bliss via email asking him about his experience.

Bliss reported that a lack of address wasn’t a problem. He simply entered in the nearest physical address to the location where the individual sat and added key descriptors.

“My goal was to get people to see the possibilities of some of these services for alternative means,” Bliss told TNW about creating the video. He has been happy with the response and is pleased that people don’t assume that this is a publicity stunt authored by Amazon.

In a market where companies have to go to extensive lengths for effective marketing, his reservation isn’t misplaced. The end of the video, however, is a call to action for all of us to make better use of our Amazon Prime accounts.

Opinions on helping the homeless are mixed everywhere you go. What is always true is that winter is cold and even the homeless deserve to have warm socks, protective shoes, and some insulation from the cold nights — and now, you can get it to them with just the click of a button.

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