(via The Washington Post)
If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably come across the feel good video that is Caine’s Arcade. The 9 year-old East Los Angeles native set up shop in the front of his father’s auto parts shop a few months ago. Armed with a sharp imagination and an abundance of cardboard, Caine began constructing his own arcade that puts carnivals and state fares to shame. It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but it possessed more heart and care than you’ll ever see from a game of chance.
When a passerby stumbles upon Caine and his Arcade, he was blown away by the fact that he’s the only customer the youngster has ever had. This customer just so happened to be a local filmmaker (https://twitter.com/#!/nirvan) and decided to make Caine’s Arcade a smashing success. With the help of his buddies (and a social media blitzkrieg) the East L.A. community came out in droves to chants of, ‘We-Came-To-Play! We-Came-To-Play!’ Could you imagine your 9 year-old self being greeted to throngs of people wanted to participate and enjoy the fruits of your labor? If someone wanted to come and play in my wiffleball park today I’d be thrilled.
The idea of the Arcade was built from a father’s encouragement and a boy’s execution. The story wasn’t created by Nirvan, but he saw the reason why it needed to be experienced by others. It’s validation- we all crave validation. It would have been heartbreaking for Caine to continually feel embarrassed about his Arcade after all the time, effort, and imagination he poured into it’s creation. We’re the lucky listeners, viewers, and beneficiaries of that support and acceptance brought on by the kindness of a stranger. Never underestimate the power of a compliment– you might save a golden idea.
Community is an incredible thing. We as social media people want so desperately to build strong and thriving communities on a grand scale that we can often overlook the beauty of our backyards. There are people interested in your passions 2500 miles away…but chances are there’s also someone just as interested in that passion that’s a social advocate too. Realistically, which of those groups of people do you have a chance to impact on a personal, tactile level? Don’t get me wrong, the internet is a playground that has presented me with remarkable opportunities and friendships- I’d just like to drive home the point that the lasting relationships are built locally and in real life.
Caine’s Arcade would have been an unbelievable story to share with his kids and friends as he matured and reflected upon his creativity and budding business savvy. However, now it’s forever etched as a heartwarming piece about the power of discovery and the desire to share our successes, collectively. We were all lucky enough to encounter and witness the short film about Caine and the East L.A. crowd, but this being 2012, we’ll be onto the next story tomorrow. So I challenge all of us, (which includes myself!) to go out into our backyards and discover our own Cardboard Arcade. I’ll buy the FunPass too.