A young boy with dirt on his face and clothing was filmed scavenging for food in rubbish bins - and dozens of people ignored him.
Some even stepped around the child to use the bin to discard trash, seemingly not registering that he clearly needed help.
At the end of the clip a group of teenagers approach the boy and ask: "Are you alright? Are you sure you're okay? Where's your parents? Do you want money?"
The video then ends with the slogan: 'Do you care enough to be a cop?’
While the boy was an actor, the heartbreaking scenes played out in real-time on the streets of Auckland, New Zealand.
The social experiment is part of a recruitment campaign for the New Zealand Police who on Monday issued a statement asking the public what they would do if confronted by the desperate situation.
The statement read: "You’re walking down a busy city street. You see a young boy, maybe ten-years-old, eating out of a rubbish bin. He looks dirty, tired, hungry and miserable.
"What would you do? Would you walk by and ignore him? Or would you stop to check if he is okay?"
NZ Police deputy chief executive of public affairs Karen Jones said if you "would have stopped, then you may be just the kind of person NZ Police is looking for".
She added: "We are looking for people who care about the people in their communities. People who will step in when they see someone who needs helps or is doing something that is unsafe.
"The kind of people we want to attract care about making a positive difference."
NZ Police are looking to recruit about 400 new officers this year. It is particularly interested in candidates aged between 18 and 29.
Jones said a core police value was empathy and the ability to see people in distress and help them.
She said police had filmed a series of real-life social experiment scenarios that represent situations "our officers deal with daily".
Jones added: "The approach we have taken is new and different and links strongly with our Police value of empathy. It helps us tell a compelling story about the special type of person who chooses to be a police officer. And at the same time reach out to like-minded people in the community to join us.
"We hope the segment will encourage conversations about what you would have done. And more importantly we hope the conversations will encourage the target groups we want to reach to consider if their values are a good fit with what we stand for."