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The traditional TwitChange story features celebrities and charities using social media to promote social good. This story takes a twist on that and tells of the power of social media to change the world for one little boy.
As you read this story, be inspired by the fact that goodness does exist amidst all the pain and suffering in this world, and be prepared to have your imagination rocked by the ingenuity of this boy.
Caine Monroy is 9-years-old, and he spent his summer going to work with his dad in the family-owned used car parts shop in East Los Angeles.
When most kids would have been whining with boredom, Caine took advantage of his down time to do a little bit more than sit and pout. He gathered used boxes from around his dad’s shop, and out of those boxes, he built his own cardboard arcade basketball game. That first game was only the beginning of what is now Caine’s Arcade, a cardboard arcade in the front of his dad’s auto parts shop complete with a claw machine.
Caine didn’t only build his arcade to fill his own time, but he even built a business plan around his arcade! For $1.00 customers get three turns at Caine’s Arcade. For $2.00, they get a Fun Pass equal to 500 turns. Seems like a great deal!
For days Caine sat in front of his arcade, open for business, hoping someone — anyone — would stop by to play. But with his dad’s business mostly online and getting little foot traffic, nobody did. Day after day Caine would wait patiently, and night after night, the shop would close without Caine ever seeing a customer.
That is, until Nirvan Mullick pulled up in front of Smart Parts Aftermarket to replace a broken door handle.
Intrigued by the young boy and his cardboard arcade, Nirvan bought a Fun Pass — Caine finally had his first customer!
Whether it was luck, fate or divine intervention that Nirvan pulled up in front of Caine’s Arcade, the fact that he did, has changed Caine’s life — forever.
“that door handle was broken for a year. Then I got a fixity ticket for a taillight which finally set off a chain of events.” Nirvan said on Twitter (@Nirvan)
Nirvan, a “Filmmaker, animator, creative consultant, & digital strategist for social good campaigns,” asked permission of Caine’s dad, George, to make a short film telling Caine’s story. One problem — Nirvan was Caine’s only customer.
To fix that, Nirvan decided to plan a flash mob on October 2, 2011 to surprise Caine at his arcade. He organized the event on Facebook, and it went viral.
The day of the flash mob, George and Caine went to eat lunch and play games at a local pizza joint. They returned to a mob of people ready to play at Caine’s Arcade. They also came to celebrate the creative genius of a boy who wasn’t put off by his inability to purchase a real claw machine, and instead made own from “a string and a hook” (and a cardboard box.)
View photos from the Caine’s Arcade flash mob here.
One brown-eyed little boy united his community with his ingenuity and his feel good story has inspired people around the world. (I guarantee you’ll tear up even a little when you watch Caine’s story in the short film directed and produced by Nirvan.) The short film was released on Monday, April 9, 2012.
Watch Caine’s Arcade:
In an effort to feed his creative intellect and imagination, Nirvan has set up a scholarship fund for Cain to help him go to college. In just one day, the fund raised more than $50,000. After three days, the goal of raising $100,000 to fund Caine’s college education was reached — evidence that one little boy can inspire hearts and spark creativity in the minds of thousands of people worldwide. (At the time of publishing, more than $115,000 had been raised for Caine’s Scholarship Fund.)
Caine’s story is a sweet reminder that we should never discount the capabilities of our children.
In the same way that his creativity and imagination inspired a small community of people in Los Angeles, Caine will, no doubt, change the world some day with his ingenuity.
Donate to Caine’s Scholarhip Fund here.
Download the Caine’s Arcade theme song by Juli Crockett, all proceeds go to his scholarship fund.
Follow Caine’s Arcade on Twitter @CainesArcade
Like Caine’s Arcade on Facebook
Follow Nirvan Mullick on Twitter @Nirvan
Like Smart Parts Aftermarket (Caine’s dad’s auto parts shop) on Facebook