He soared to viral video fame after ripping apart the sign of a homeless army veteran named Alan McCracken and putting it back together filled with money. Now Las Vegas magician Rob Anderson is using his talents to give back to another veteran.
Johnny Hicks thought he was being interviewed for a documentary when Anderson showed up at his home. What he didn’t know was that McCracken would only accept a portion of the $40,000 raised by Anderson’s previous video before moving to California to look for a job, and that Anderson was looking to give the rest of the funds away.
In a video of the visit, Hicks and his wife explain his disability and financial situation to Anderson. When Hicks took time off for kidney surgery, he lost his job, leaving his family with no way to cover their bills or pay for their home.
“We don’t even have money to eat right now,” his wife says. “We don’t even know if we’re eating tonight.” After listening to their story, the magician casually handed Hicks $1,000 cash, nearly enough to bring the couple to tears.
But he doesn’t stop there. He takes the family outside where a moving truck full of furniture is waiting to replace their old furniture, which was damaged by mold. Back inside, the magician starts handing the couple envelopes. Each envelope contained gift cards and money to pay for new clothes, home repairs and grocery bills.
The last envelope contained a statement from Anderson that the funds collected would pay his rent for a year.
“You deserve it. Your service to the country [allows] me the life that I want to live,” Anderson tells Hicks and his wife in the video. “Me being able to do this, what I want to do. You provided that for me, and a lot of other people.”
His final gift was to take Hicks outside again to reveal a new car, paid for by online donors.
The video already has over 200,000 views and Anderson is using it to promote a new fundraiser that will allow him to keep giving back to disabled veterans.
“It’s really a win-win for everybody. The entertainer gets exposure, the cause gets exposure, and we are helping to do more than just ‘tricks’,” says mentalist and magician Kevin Viner. “With the crowdsourcing component, there is no telling just how far this can go to help those in need.”