It's a scene that's sadly familiar -- a young girl at a bar, over-indulging while partying with friends. Usually, there's safety in numbers, but what happens if her friends leave her alone -- and a stranger decides to take advantage?
As the drinks went down, a young man sidled up next to her. His intentions quickly became questionable.
"Have you ever done a body shot?" he asked the young woman, running his hands through her hair.
She responded, "Why are you touching me? I don't know you."
But she was too drunk to fend off his advances. The man was relentless and tried to use her intoxicated state to his advantage: "We'll get some air; we'll get some fresh night air."
Patrons at McLoone's Pier House on the New Jersey shore seemed concerned, but would anyone step up to protect the defenseless young woman?
Watch the season premiere of "What Would You Do?" tonight at 9 p.m. ET
What people didn't know is that the bar was working with us; the young woman and her pursuer were both actors. And so was the bartender. All hired by "What Would You Do?" to gauge people's reactions to this frightening scenario.
One couple couldn't seem to look away. "Is she going to be all right over there?" mumbled the gentleman, shaking his head. "She came in here plastered and he's trying to give her more shots."
Dan, our actor playing the aggressive stranger, started to drag his unwilling but helpless date toward the door.
"My hotel is literally two blocks away," he pleaded.
"But I don't know you, I don't know who you are," Jessica, our innocent party girl protested.
The concerned gentleman continued to watch and talk to the bartender. "That guy just showed up out of nowhere. He's taking advantage of her."
As Dan walked by with Jessica draped in his arms, the man's wife put her hand up to the bartender and told him, "Don't get involved."
Bystanders were clearly concerned, but so far no one was preventing him from leading her out of the bar.
It's a scenario that plays out in real life more often than you think. Just last year, a young woman was dragged out of a New York night club and later raped. The surveillance footage showed the assailant at one point drop the woman before picking her up again and continuing out the door. No one stopped them.
Hero Swoops In
But back at our bar, a white knight appeared near the door just in the nick of time. Alberto Zabal approached our predator. "She don't walk out with you because she don't know you," he said, in heavily accented, broken English.
Dan protested, "I am going to take care of her, I'm going to get her back to the hotel, alright."
But Zabal had heard enough: "She has to sit here -- she don't know you... if she say she knows you, you can walk."
They went back and forth, with Dan trying to convince Zabal that he was just going to take care of her and get her home. But Zabal wouldn't let up. "She don't walk this freaking place with you if she don't know you," he shouted.
Finally, the defeated young man walked out of the bar alone. When we caught up with him afterwards, Zabal said he was overcome with emotion.
"I have my daughter, 25 year old, and they die every year, so it's...sorry," he said, but could barely continue. "They die all these kids. I don't like it to happen to any woman like that. I don't want it to happen."
A string of women, who saw the scene unfold, came to the girl's aid and inspired others to join in.
"I think women definitely have a stronger reaction to someone taking advantage of them because they probably all have been there themselves," said relationship expert Donna Barnes. "Maybe no one was there when it happened to us, so it's then empowering to be there for somebody else."
A Different Look for Our Actress
As a twist in our experiment, we decided to replace Jessica, our innocent "party girl" with Ashley, another actress who was dressed more provocatively; a variable we thought might provoke a different reaction.
Bystanders still seemed concerned and were willing to keep Ashley out of harm's way no matter the risk.
"She doesn't want to go with you," a bystander named Cindy told the aggressive stranger. "Give me your phone and let's call [friend] Amber."
But there were differences, especially when the bystanders were young men. What unfolded may surprise you.
Find out what happens on "What Would You Do?" Friday May 7 at 9 p.m. ET.