Caine Monroy spent his summer building a cardboard arcade in his dad’s Used Auto Parts store, but no one came to play. Until the Internet, that is.
Monroy’s cardboard arcade had everything: various games, bags for prizes, an official “Caine’s Arcade” employee shirt—even a security device (a calculator) to check the validity of “fun passes.”
Everything, except customers. His father’s shop didn’t get much foot traffic, and most of the auto-parts business was conducted through eBay.
Then redditor and filmmaker Nirvan Mullik stumbled into Monroy’s establishment looking for a door handle for ‘96 Toyota Corolla. He was immediately delighted with the 9-year-old’s project, which incidentally, had taken over the entire store. Mullik couldn’t help but be the arcade’s first customer.
“When I scored a goal, Caine would crawl under the box and push out little tickets through a slit in the cardboard,” Mullik wrote on Reddit six months ago in a post rallying the social news site community to action. “I was blown away by this kids imagination and execution.”
Redditors were too.
Mullik’s call to arms—for a flashmob on a sunny October Sunday in Los Angeles—received 186 comments and more than 1,000 upvotes and made it to the front page of Reddit.
The flashmob of 100 people, and the joy in surprised Caine Monroy’s face, were subsequently captured on film by Mullik. Uploaded onto Vimeo (and YouTube) on April 9, the eleven-minute short “Caine’s Arcade” has already been viewed more than 245,000 times in roughly 24 hours.
“Man Tears have been shed!,” wrote ahmedzeeshan on YouTube in a top comment. “There is nothing sweeter than having your dreams come true during your childhood.”
“This film is so good on so many levels. Especially the human one,” wrote vimeo staff member Jason Sondhi.
Mullik also started a college scholarship fund for Caine Monroy that at press time had already raised $30,000.
“First we made his day, now we’re making his future,” tweeted Mullik on April 10.