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

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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