Cousins go viral on TikTok for heartwarming videos of their Fresno shop's homeless customers

Fresno gas station helps homeless customers
Fresno gas station helps homeless customers 03:06

Two California gas station managers are changing the way Americans view an often-forgotten community. The pair, cousins from Fresno, have become social media stars for their TikTok videos introducing local homeless people to the world. 

The videos have become so popular that the two men have collected boxes and boxes of donations and money to help pay their kindness forward.

"It was just all fun and games at first," Akram Mohsin told CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers. "Eventually the followers wanted to get to know everybody else a little better."

Akram Mohsin and Mohsin Alaqwari post TikToks featuring homeless customers at the Tower Gas and Mini Mart in Fresno. The videos have more than 39 million views — turning the gas station managers into social media sensations for their kind acts towards those who are normally overlooked.

The clips show the individuals' talents, tribulations and, most importantly, their humanity. 

In one video, Mohsin gives a man named Chris $40 to spend in the store. His face lit up, and a later clip shows him with various foods on the counter.

"I'm gonna be full, got all my nutrients," Chris said happily. 

Mohsin said their endeavor was about doing the right thing.

"People come in here and say how much they appreciate us, but we just we just kind of say we're doing our best and we're just trying to give back to the community," he said.

People all over the world send packages and hundreds of dollars, so Mohsin and Alaqwari's homeless neighbors can buy food and other necessities in the store.

The viewers have even developed fan favorites. One of them is Phil, a man who has been down on his luck for eight years. Viewers send him clothes, blankets and even special notes. 

"Phil's a genuine guy who just wants to help. Every time he's here, he's just like, oh, can I help you guys out with something, take out some trash," Alaqwari said. "He just wants to talk and hang out."

The cousins' help is appreciated on Tik Tok, as well as within the store itself.

Mohsin had said he began thinking about these peoples' lives and who they were before they became homeless when Chris helped him with his college physics assignment. Mohsin said he was struggling when Chris helped him break down some of the complex mathematical concepts.

The cousins hope their videos will make others contemplate people's shared humanity, instead of shunning those in need.