Oklahoma City reverend questions Honest Tea's social experiment
By Thabie Sibanda
SW OKLAHOMA CITY — A simple social experiment made its first stop in the metro Friday to find out if the city is honest. It's called the Honest Index and the beverage company Honest Tea conducts the experiment. But one local pastor, Reverend Joelene Barber, wasn't happy it was held in her neighborhood."I thought you know this is the poorest neighborhood in Oklahoma City," Barber said.Reverend Barber pastors Grace Fellowship and she says a lot of her congregation is homeless or poor. She decided to show up with one hundred $1 dollar bills and paid for every person who showed up wanting a cold drink."I care about them," Barber said. "I don't want them to not do without or nor do I want them to have to make the choice to walk away and to feel deprived."Honest Tea goes all over the country setting up un-manned pop-up kiosks with their drinks. Their purpose is to see how America values honesty.FOX25 spoke to the Orange County, Los Angeles marketing manager Cally Casey. She said they use a simple concept: anyone can walk up to the kiosk, pick a drink they like and decide whether or not to drop off a dollar inside a clearly labeled box."We watch you from afar and you don't know it," Casey said. "We like to see how people react when no one's watching."They chose Wiley Post Park to hold their experiment but their choice of neighborhood motivated the reverend to step in. She says lots of homeless people live there."I just shared with them that it was really a disadvantage," Barber said. "I said go to Bethany because they have a lot of Christians out there."Barber shared her concerns with the organizers who said told her the choice was just a coincidence."I spoke with the Reverend and we were very touched," Casey said. "It's just a learning experience in general and we know now. Maybe next year we'll go to the botanical gardens."Honest Tea has done this experiment for at least six years. They will continue their two-week tour and release the results sometime in August.
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