Minneapolis/ Community & Society
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Published on December 21, 2023
From TikTok to Tabletops, Minneapolis Star Serves Up Viral Kindness with Egg Roll GiveawaySource: Tiktok/Josh Liljenquist

Minneapolis has found an unexpected hero in a TikTok star whose big-hearted gesture to help the local homeless community has not only gone viral but also shone a spotlight on the challenges of small businesses. Josh Liljenquist, the 25-year-old social media sensation from Minnesota, has sparked a movement with his simple act of kindness: ordering a mass of egg rolls from the local eatery, Lotus, to distribute among those in need. According to CBS News Minnesota, the visit was part of Liljenquist's personal mission "to be the best version of myself."

"My new mission, trying to be the best version of myself," Liljenquist told CBS News Minnesota, alluding not just to feeding the hungry but to helping to potentially revitalize small businesses that have been struggling to stay afloat. "If I can touch local restaurants, feed people who are hungry and I can take care of myself and build a community who cares, you got three birds with one stone," he said. His actions have to quickly turn into an inspiring narrative, one where compassion meets practical assistance.

The viral TikTok video shows Liljenquist visiting Lotus, a flurry of preparation in the background as he gears up to hand out food to those in precarious living situations. This moment, more than just a viral sensation, has translated into significant benefits for the business as well. "Our business is up 90% yesterday tips are up 250% for the staff. Amazing, after one day," Lotus owner Yoom Nguyen stated in an interview obtained by CBS News Minnesota. This surge has brought much-needed relief and optimism to the establishment's workers.

Liljenquist's approach is both straightforward and impactful—order a significant amount of food, generously tip the workers, and distribute it to those in desperate need. Concurrently, the alignment of personal success with the active betterment of the community underscores the symbiotic relationship between individual acts of kindness and their ripple effect on society. This synergy was not lost on Nguyen, who said to Liljenquist, "If he's a real helper like this, let's do this," embracing TikTok's philanthropic spirit wholeheartedly.

With over 12 million views on TikTok and millions more across other platforms, Liljenquist's strategy of reinvesting his platform's income into community service has both warmed hearts and opened wallets. "I make the money from views that people watch my stuff and then you put it right back out into the community," he explained. Beyond the statistics, the real success lies in Liljenquist's desire to inspire others to follow in his footsteps, leveraging social media not just for self-promotion but as a force for tangible good.

The story, also featured on Auburn Pub – a partner of CNN – highlights the social media star's endeavor in a viral clip, displaying the gravity of this act of kindness. Liljenquist, through his initiatives, has managed to steer conversations towards community-building and social responsibility—setting an example that charity, indeed, begins at home, or in this case, at the doorstep of a local business with a platter of egg rolls in hand.