My good friend Andrew Cee (the director of Millions: The Series) asked me to come out a few weeks ago and help him shoot a spot for the Coca Cola Open Happiness Project series he’d been selected to be a part of. His idea was quite simple – though it later turned out to be pretty hard to execute, actually… – as he wanted to give people daisies with notes attached, and the expectation that they ‘pay it forward’ and re-gift the flower to someone else. It was a fun concept, and we mostly went hidden-camera (I was on a monopod and a 70-200mm lens all day, which NEVER happens), using a few accomplices (that we didn’t know) to deliver flowers to their friends and, often times, to complete strangers.
It feels like some magical moments happened: a big hunk voleyball player gave a flower to a mom and her child, foreign exchange students experienced Toronto hospitality firsthand, and we apparently created friendships that lasted throughout the day (and maybe beyond?). By the time the end of the afternoon came around, we’d really found our groove and a good method that would allow people to be enthused rather than spooked when we approached them (it turns out people seem to always assume we wanted to sell them the flowers!). But ultimately, everything worked out, and we witnessed a heartwarming series of random acts of kindness, and we found flowers all over the beach, and in the hands of people heading back home with the gift they’d received from a stranger, their day a little brighter.
Thanks to Andrew for always giving me a shout to shoot his stuff, for Lee Pham for managing the day, to my amazing assistant Crystal, and to everyone else that came out to be part of our little Random Acts of Kindness crew! It was a stunning few hours at the beach, full of kind, beautiful people… one of those days that makes you realize that Toronto is kind of awesome, in its own way, as you’ll experience it in the video!
Enjoy your summer, and spread the Happiness