Eugene Cho

Get outside. Be creative. Dream. Create something. The story of 9-year-old Caine Monroy and Caine’s Arcade.

Dear friends, readers, strangers, and blog stalkers: I try to be careful with overly extreme outrageous over-the-top superlatives but the story of Caine’s Arcade and its 9-year-old founder, Caine, might be one of the greatest things I’ve ever read or seen.

This story of not judging a book by its cover was cool, too, but wow…this is amazing. No joke.

First, do yourself a HUGE favor and watch the video. I guarantee it’ll be worth your 11 minutes or I will pay you $2 for your very own “Fun Pass” (this will make sense later). Money back guarantee.

Who is Caine and what is Caine’s Arcade?

Caine Monroy is a 9-year old boy who spent his summer vacation building an elaborate DIY cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store.

Caine dreamed of the day he would have lots of customers visit his arcade, and he spent months preparing everything, perfecting the game design, making displays for the prizes, designing elaborate security systems, and hand labeling paper-lunch-gift-bags. However, his dad’s autoparts store (located in an industrial part of East LA) gets almost zero 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 play Caine’s Arcade. But Caine never gave up.

One day, by chance, I walked into Smart Parts Auto looking for a used door handle for my ’96 Corolla. What I found was an elaborate handmade cardboard arcade manned by a young boy who asked if I would like to play. I asked Caine how it worked and he told me that for $1 I could get two turns, or for $2 I could get a Fun Pass with 500 turns. I got the Fun Pass. (via Caine’s Arcade)

Here are my 10 random thoughts:

  1. This is awesome. This is awesome. This is awesome.
  2. I love Caine’s smile.
  3. I love his father. Our kids need fathers and mothers. Parents and parent figures that encourage, edify, empower, and build up.
  4. The arcade truly is ingenious. Brilliant. Incredible. So smart. So detailed.
  5. I would totally go and play at his arcade. And of course, I’d get the “Fun Pass.”
  6. Forget Instagram. This guy is going to do some something crazy someday.
  7. I love the storytelling. Props. And I love that there’s a college fund started for Caine. On the 1st day that this video was released and a college fund set up, they raised $25,000
  8. Regarding #7, I gave a few bucks towards his college fund. I feel like it’ll one of the best investments I make.
  9. I want to show this to every single child and teenager (and for that matter: even grown ups) who are spending way too many hours on the internet, watching  youtube, LOL catz, watching television, and glued to their gadgets.
  10. Get out people. Be creative. Be entrepreneurial! The world is our playground…and it comes with cardboard boxes

Pursue your dreams and passions! Do it and I’ll invest $2 towards your idea!

I’m serious. I’ll send you $2 to be your first investor.

Your thoughts?

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27 Responses

  1. Austin Gilly says:

    This is incredible. I love the creativity, and I think that what makes Cain so special is that his dad encourages him. To me that shows the importance of fatherhood.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Eugene.

    It’s inspirational that Caine believed so much in this arcade that he put so much work, detail, and belief into it. Secondly it’s incredible to me that Nirvan took the time to notice, encourage, and ‘see’ the kid – then he took the time to come back use his ‘fun pass’, then he took the time to expose Caine to the goodness that is so often hard to find in this world. This event, this simple event, has quite possibly changed the trajectory of Caine’s life. Incredibly inspiring.

  3. jbledsoejr says:

    Wow! Great story! We are a homeschool family and we continually look forward to our kids doing creative, crazy things similar to Caine and his arcade. We encourage them to use their imagination and skills to create solutions to problems…no matter the obstacle.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Share some of your ideas with us! Always looking for ways to engage our kids beyond technology…

      • jbledsoejr says:

        I will…one thing we’ve done the past couple years is our kids have run a Lemonade Stand in conjunction with the annual Lemonade Day program, and they selected a nonprofit org to share their Lemonade sale profits with. We’ll be doing that again this year, but we plan to help our kids come up with a way(s) to extend the support for their selected cause throughout the year past the Lemonade Day event.

        Once we come up with a plan we’ll be sharing.

  4. Bobby Minor says:

    Dude I love it! I’m actually in the middle of writing a blog post titled “Ignorance is Bliss” and I’m talking about how sometimes it’s better not to know all of the reasons something won’t work, and then I stumble across this post and am blown away by Caine’s story. I thank God his father didn’t give him all of the reasons not to do it and not only allowed him to, but actually encouraged him. I am inspired!

  5. […] Get outside. Be creative. Dream. Create something. The story of 9-year-old Caine Monroy and Caine&#8… (eugenecho.com) […]

  6. jendodgson says:

    Reblogged this on Young Writers @ The Loft and commented:
    Yes! Do it, create something of your own: A novel, an amusement park, a go-cart, a dog house, a water park…………and since this is a literary blog, not number 7 especially. Story telling somes from experiencing life, creating things, meeting people, living OUT LOUD! If you want to be a writer, DO. Your life is the starting point for imaginative work!

  7. Tanya says:

    This is great. I’m impressed not just with the boy but his dad. I don’t know many parents who would let their child set up card board boxes in front of their business and not discourage them.

  8. Oliver says:

    U-Jeen,

    +1 on his smile. Infectious!
    +1 on the storytelling. Well-crafted in so many respects.:)
    +1 on kicking in a few bucks; I just couldn’t help myself.

    I believe this little video was God’s gift to me on so many levels.

    I sometimes rathole on all the ways people show me how they suck. But when all the people at his arcade are lined up and cheering and holding signs, I feel like I catch the tiniest glimpse how we’re made in His image.

    I genuinely feel inspired! It goes without saying inspired by Caine and amazing outlook and perseverance and creativity. But also by the filmmaker. How rad that he’s using his talent in this way!

  9. Deb says:

    I saw the video this morning and have been thinking about it and sharing it with friends all day! I’m actually going to LA in a couple weeks, and yes, I plan to buy a fun pass!

  10. […] also inspired Pastor Eugene Cho to offer $2 to anyone ready to pursue their […]

  11. Diane says:

    This is sooo awesome. What a creative young man!!!

  12. JB says:

    Fantastic! Almost brought on some tears.

  13. Boon says:

    Thanks for sharing this. This is an awesome video showing that people can make things happen. If they put the effort, things will get noticed. God notices everything.

  14. […] Get outside. Be creative. Dream. Create something. The story of 9-year-old Caine Monroy and Caine&#8… (eugenecho.com) Share this:ShareEmailFacebookRedditStumbleUponTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. ▶ No Responses /* 0) { jQuery('#comments').show('', change_location()); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'none'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'inline'); return true; } else { jQuery('#comments').hide(''); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'inline'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'none'); return false; } } jQuery('#showcomments a').click(function(){ if(jQuery('#comments').css('display') == 'none') { self.location.href = '#comments'; check_location(); } else { check_location('hide'); } }); function change_location() { self.location.href = '#comments'; } }); /* ]]> */ […]

  15. Cindy says:

    his smile is too much!!

  16. Phyllis Vermilyea says:

    I fell in love with this little boy and how much he is like my grandson. I just hope and pray he never lets any of this go to his head and crowd out all the wonderful ideas planted there by a loving God. He is on my prayer list for my life. I wish I could really know him and his family.

  17. Sam says:

    I shouldn’t have watched this during my conference period at work. Now I have to think of excuses for why it looks like I have been crying. I am not sure why but this story moved me to tears. Gotta wash my face before my 5th graders come back from the gym. Can’t wait to show it to them. Thanks for sharing Caine’s story.

  18. Anita says:

    Wow…definitely tears…
    1. The love of the father for the son
    2. The optimism of Caine (not going to close early…ever)
    3. The child likeness of Nirvan
    And so much more that words cannot fully express!

  19. Ph says:

    In a world filled with greed, distrust and murder a little boy brings generosity of spirit, faith in his fellow man to come and joy beyond all telling. How is this possible……….a lesson for us all. Love to Caine and his family.

  20. […] weeks ago, I shared the story of 9-year-old Caine Monroy of Caine’s Arcade. If you haven’t seen his story, please do yourself a favor and watch […]

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother. I love all the free amazing views in our Evergreen State. #RattlesnakeLedge

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