I went to buy a door handle for my car, and met this 9 year old boy, who had spent his summer building this elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto part store. Caine dreamed of having customers, but he hadn’t had any – so we decided to surprise him and make his day. What happened next is a real life fairytale.
This is a follow-up to the Caine’s Arcade short film, which inspired a wave of cardboard creativity.
In 2011, at the age of 9, Caine Monroy spent his summer vacation building an elaborate cardboard cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store in East Los Angeles.
Caine loved arcades, and dreamed of the day he would have lots of customers come play. He spent months building and preparing his arcade, perfecting his game design, making displays for prizes (his toy cars), designing elaborate security systems for his Fun Pass, making his own Caine’s Arcade STAFF shirt, and even hand labelling paper-lunch-bags for customers to carry home prizes.
However, his dad’s auto part store (located in an industrial part of Boyle Heights) received very little foot traffic, so Caine’s chances of getting a customer were very small, and the few walk-in customers that came through were always in too much of a hurry to get their auto part to stop to play Caine’s Arcade. Caine never had a single customer, but Caine never gave up.
On the last day of summer, by chance, Nirvan Mullick walked into the auto parts store to buy a door handle for his ’96 Corolla. Caine asked Nirvan if he would like to play his arcade. Curious, Nirvan asked how the arcade worked. Caine explained that for $1, Nirvan could get two turns, or for $2 he could get a Fun Pass (with 500 turns). Nirvan bought the Fun Pass.
Nirvan became Caine’s first and only customer, and he loved Caine’s Arcade. It turned out that Nirvan was also a filmmaker, and he came back to ask Caine’s dad if he could make a short film about Caine’s Arcade. It was at that point Nirvan learned that he had been Caine’s first and only customer. Nirvan decided to organize a surprise flash mob of customers to come play Caine’s Arcade, and make Caine’s day.
Words can’t describe Caine’s response – so watch the film. After the flashmob, Caine told his dad that that was the best day of his whole life.