The Best Day of His Life (so far)

joe —  Fri 20-Apr-12

Surprise signHave you ever had someone do something outrageously cool for you? Not just “made me breakfast in bed” kind of cool but seriously outrageous?

I am blessed in that I get to see cool in action almost every day. I have awesome friends. But it wasn’t until my 50th birthday that I felt it to the outrageous level. Sure, there are lots of surprise parties in the world, but the stories behind this one were over the top. Whether it was Paul & Carrie driving 400 miles just for the event, or listening to John Carrozza behind my mother-in-awes piano, everyone had a beautiful part. I enjoyed the party for weeks afterward, listening to the stories describing all the tiny miracles that Beth and her cohorts pulled off.

I have no idea what my face looked like when I saw everyone in the house, but I suspect it looked something like Caine Monroy’s. Caine is a 9 year old boy that has become the talk of the internet recently. Take a look at why…

When I first saw this video I had that warm feeling you probably got from the clip. It’s not only a great feel-good story, there’s also excellent life lessons about creativity and innovation to be found. My weekly innovation column at work this week described those lessons. This, however, is not that column.

I needed to watch the video several times to write that piece. Each time, I became more engaged by Nirvan Mullick. Nirvan is the gentleman that turned a routine trip to find a ’96 Corolla door handle into a day that Caine will likely never forget.

Why did he do this?

The cynics might say he was looking to find a way to make a name for himself and boost his filmmaking career. I don’t buy that.

I believe that Nirvan was the victim of his environment – an accidental escape into a situation that amused him. He couldn’t explain why he was the only customer. Who wouldn’t want the fun pass – “the fun pass is an awesome deal.” His cognitive dissonance was begging for resolution.

I still don’t think that is what drove Nirvan. Why would anyone go through all of this trouble simply because some kid isn’t getting the customer base he expects?

Surprise tweetI think the key to Nirvan’s motivation are present when he said, “The idea is to get as many people as we can to come out to Caine’s arcade and make his day. Nirvan saw an opportunity to make someone else’s day wicked cool and he jumped on it. No complicated filmmaking career planning, no deep seeded cognitive dissonance, he simply wanted to make Caine’s day.

Nirvan is a filmmaker, so he used the tools he had available. He had an opportunity, the fact that it was a cute gap-toothed 9 year old made it even more irresistible. Most of all, he had the desire. We all have tools and we all have opportunity. What separates Nirvan from many is desire and desire is a choice.

Being a filmmaker, I suspect that Nirvan is constantly looking at situations and seeing endless possibilities. That is the way I want to live my life. I want every single day to be seen through the lens of possibilities. I know it would be foolish to act on all of them, but I know there is always room for one more, and after that, one more. It’s the story of the stranded starfish.

Caine s SmileWhat if I woke up every day trying to find a way to make someone else’s day? I know it’s too much to expect “outrageous coolness” on any sort of regular basis. Maybe I could set my initial expectations a little lower so that I would do it more often. What if my goal were as simple as giving someone Caine’s smile.

I imagine that is what Beth and 40 others saw when they made my day.