Last October, at a used auto-parts store in East Los Angeles, a flash mob of impossibly adorable proportions descended upon one little kid's cardboard arcade. Caine Monroy had spent years building up the elaborate, entirely workable game center — featuring a claw made out of an S-hook, a foosball-ish table with toy soldiers for goalies, and SO MUCH MORE.
Up until then, nine-year-old Monroy only really had one customer: L.A. filmmaker Nirvan Mullick. But thanks to a flash mob Mullick arranged via Facebook and Reddit…
… hundreds swarmed to Smartparts that day to see the magical fort-world that Monroy had fashioned from boxes and tape and calculators and the like.
As of yesterday, Mullick's final cut is up on Vimeo. Prepare to be heartwarmed.
Here's the shop where Monroy hosts his arcade (and where his dad sells used auto parts, if you need some of those while you're in the neighborhood).
Perhaps most heartwarming of all is that, thanks to the viral campaign, 9-year-old Monroy now has $35,000 toward his scholarship fund. The final goal is $100,000 — you can donate here. Because we can attest: College needs more kids that would think up a full-scale cardboard arcade in their dad's auto shop.
Update: The woman at the front desk of Smartparts tells us that Caine's Arcade is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
But Caine himself only mans the DIY palace on the weekends (excluding this coming Sunday), seeing as he has school and other normal 9-year-old things during the week.
So if you're looking for an autograph, you'll have to wait until first thing Saturday. We're thinking he might have a busy one, seeing as the Internet's heart has been collectively rewarmed to the cause.