Lolita Lopez, Tom Bravo
“He built .. this elaborate arcade world without having any customers, just with that sense that if you build it they will come," says filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, whose video of Caine Monroy’s all-cardboard arcade has gone viral. The 9-year-old’s achievement -- at his father's auto parts business in Boyle Heights -- has inspired the creation of a college fund for more than $80,000. NBC4's Lolita Lopez reports from Los Angeles.
It's a little boy's dream built in cardboard and tape.
"He just grabbed the box, put a little basketball hoop on it and started trying to hustle up the customers for nickel," said George Monroy, whose auto parts store became the venue for an all-cardboard arcade.
Caine Monroy spent last summer building a makeshift arcade out of cardboard boxes in Smart Parts Aftermarket at 538 N. Mission Rd. in Boyle Heights.
It was dubbed Caine's Arcade.
The 9-year-old waited for customers to enjoy his creation, but no one came.
There's not much foot traffic along the industrial strip where his dad's store has been for three decades.
Then, filmmaker Nirvan Mullick stopped by needing a new door handle, and found much more.
"I didn't know that I was his first customer,” Mullick said. “I ended up being the first person to buy this fun pass, and it's $2. Probably the best deal of my life.”
The 37-year old filmmaker knew he had to tell Caine's story, and get people in the door.
Last October, he did both: parts of Caine’s move quickly went viral on the web.
"He built all of this elaborate arcade world without having any customers, just with that sense that if you build it they will come," Mullick said.
Soon, a flash mob was created. Hundreds came to play at the arcade, surprising Caine with what he dreamed of most.
"That was always the goal is to communicate that thing about Caine that just is so unique," Mullick said.
The rewards at Caine's Arcade are in the form of prizes that Caine buys himself at the 99 cent store, but Caine has won more than prizes.
A scholarship fund has been created online and Caine Arcade website, Facebook and Twitter pages gained thousands of followers.
The film went public on Tuesday, when they earned about $50,000 for Caine’s college fund. By Wednesday, fans had donated more than $80,000.
The fund is now being capped at $100,000 giving this family from Hacienda Heights security.
Caine said he wants to learn how to create advance games in college, building on the fundamentals he already has.