A recently aired episode of ABC's What Would You Do? featured a staged situation in which a gay man comes out to his son in a restaurant in New Jersey. The premise of the show, which features hidden cameras, is to subject unsuspecting people to a certain dilemma, and then gauge their reaction as the drama unfolds.
This latest episode was inspired by a popular op-ed in the Washington Post by a man named Jared Bilski titled "My dad lived a lie. I'm determined my kids won't have to do the same." In the piece, Bilski writes about the regret he feels for his father, who finally came out to him just a few days before he passed away.
Bilski writes in part, "It wasn't death he was afraid of, at least not at that moment. My dad was terrified of how I'd react to hearing he'd been lying all along."
What would passersby in a crowded diner think of a father coming out to his son in a similarly-staged situation? John Quiñones, who hosts the hidden camera show, sought to find out. In the scene, a man, seated next to his wife, tell their son they are getting a divorce because of his sexual orientation. The couple then leave the room, leaving the son alone, pondering this news.
Fortunately, most of the feedback the young man receives from other diners who overhear the conversation are positive.
"You didn't lose him," one diner tells the son. "He is the same person with the same values and the same emotions. Let me tell you, it doesn't matter what age you are, divorce is divorce. It hurts. But these two people don't change. These two people still love you very, very much."
"It's still your dad, man," says another "Accept him for what it is, you know? It's the only thing you can do."
"Being gay, it's not a big deal," says yet another. "It doesn't change the fact that he's your dad."
You can watch the full clip of the touching episode here.