Caine spent last summer helping his father out at his auto parts store in East Los Angeles. While his father handled business in the office, Caine got busy constructing arcade games out of spare boxes lying around the shop, setting up his own business in the front of the store.
He constructed a mini cardboard soccer field with army men guarding against a crumpled up ball of paper and tape. He had a basketball game that he made with a toy hoop he won at the local arcade. He made a crane game with a metal hook and string, which a player moved manually around a track cut out in the top of a box. He even had a shirt made with Caine's Arcade printed on the back and Staff on the front.
There was only one problem, he wasn't getting any customers. Most of his dad's business had moved online, so there weren't too many people walking into the shop on the outskirts of L.A. That is, until Nirvan Mullick showed up, and turned Caine's story into an internet sensation with an 11-minute short film.
I met Caine randomly. I had to get a door handle for my '96 Corolla, so I pulled into this used auto parts store, and I just came across this elaborate cardboard arcade, Mullick recounts in the film. I asked him how much it was to play, he's like, 'For one dollar, you get four turns. But for two dollars you get a Fun Pass.' Well, how many turns do you get with a Fun Pass? You get 500 turns with a Fun Pass. I got a Fun Pass.
Mullick decided to make a short film about Caine's cardboard arcade and to organize a flash mob through the internet to surprise the boy with more customers than even he could have possibly imagined. And this is a kid with imagination.
Caine arrives at the shop one Sunday after getting pizza with his dad, and is greeted by a huge crowd, chanting, We came to play!
I came back and I was like, 'Is this real life, or was I, like, just dreaming, Caine says in the film.
Watch the film below: