Like many major cities, New York has a huge homeless population. According to New York Magazine, 60,000 homeless people live in shelters, and that doesn’t include the thousands who actually sleep in the streets each night.

Kindness is not unheard of, and donations are put directly in the hands of those living on the street. The city’s residents, commuters, and tourists run into homeless people each day, and many stop to offer money or food. Many times though, these folks go unnoticed, almost as if they’re invisible. They’re vets, parents, students— all human.

You may have seen some search through the trash for a meal, panhandling, or sleeping on benches. Men, women, and children of all ages are living under such conditions. During a visit to the Big Apple, French tourist Karine Gombeau had an encounter with a homeless man and ended up giving her doggy bag to him.

She spent some of her time visiting the city’s Little Italy neighborhood, and had some leftover pizza to spare. After happening upon the man who was combing through a trash can, she approached him and offered him her food. Little did she know who the man actually was, or that she would end up in the headlines.

richard gere pizzaLukke Volkov

You know those reality shows where someone trades places with another to live their life for a certain amount of time? How about the shows where a person poses as, or becomes someone new to learn what it’s like to live and work on the other side of the fence? Lessons get learned and changes ensue.

Well, in this case, Karine unknowingly stumbled upon the set of a movie, Time Out of Mind, starring Richard Gere as a homeless man. Since there were no telltale heavy-duty pieces of equipment or hordes of fans surrounding him, she didn’t even recognize him. It seemed no one else on the street did either!

According to a Huffington Post article, Gere stated that the experience of making the movie was anxiety-inducing:

“None of us really knew what was going to happen. We thought maybe we would get five minutes before crowds started to screw up the shot, that I would be recognized and it would be over. A couple minutes into the shot, we realized no one was paying attention.”

Released last year, all the street scenes in the movie were filmed without interruption. It just goes to show how easy it is to blend in without an identity when you’re homeless. As for Karine, you can learn more about her encounter with Richard Gere and his response to her gesture by watching the video below.

Karine had no idea her act of kindness would be documented, let alone go viral, as she was just looking out for her fellow man. What a sweet lady! If you live in a community with a heavy homeless population, you can always do as Karine did, or volunteer with a local charity.

Would you have been able to recognize this celeb? Are you moved by this kind deed? Share with us in the comments!