Buried under the avalanche of selfies, lost-dog announcements and motivational quotes that usually pollute St. Louis' social-media scene is a video so heartwarming and honest that we're willing to forgive it for being a tad preachy.
In a new video, Austin McBroom, a sophomore guard on Saint Louis University's basketball team, and his best friend, Blake Carelli, spend a day with a homeless man they meet on the street. When the homeless man, who goes by Michael, says he hasn't eaten in five days, the guys buy him some Kentucky Fried Chicken. When Michael admits his clothes, which he's worn for years, originally came from the trash, McBroom and Carelli set him up at H&M.
But nothing makes Michael happier than getting a haircut and shave from Carelli's barber. As he removes his visor and shows off his Michael Jordan cut, he remarks that it's his first in years.
"We wanted to put it out there to the community, to let people see that there are people in this world, in our very own city, that are way less fortunate than you are," Carelli tells Daily RFT. "We don't know exactly what people go through, so we said, 'Why don't we go down there and talk to somebody, get their background, see how they actually live.'"
Carelli doesn't mind coming across as a little preachy. He and McBroom are both deeply religious and call themselves "followers of Christ," evangelizing by example. That's why they added a text intro to the video of their day with Michael -- to hammer home their message that people too often take blessings for granted.
"[Jesus] never received anything in return, but He was always looking to give to other people," says Carelli. "That's how I live my life, so other people can benefit from what I have to offer to them. I don't look for anything in return."
Carelli says he and McBroom didn't originally plan on turning the day with Michael into a video, but he's glad he did. The YouTube clip has had some success on Facebook and Twitter, and Carelli says even his old high school teachers have seen it and are reaching out to him.
"It's amazing our message that started so small that we just wanted to be between us and a few friends took off across the United States," Carelli says.