Last week two Corning men proved anyone has the power to make someone’s day, building community in the process.
Since it’s averaged over 1000 views per day (after debuting on December 4th), chances are you’ve already seen this video… but if not, take a look and come back (we’ll wait).
We sat down with the creators to find out more about the video and the response they’ve had to it:
UC: How did you come up with the idea for “Holiday Parking Ticket Surprise”?
Tom Andolino: More than a year ago I came across a guy who makes funny prank videos (involving faux parking tickets). I instantly messaged it to Greg and said we’ve gotta do something like this… we thought the holidays would be perfect for it.
Greg Speroni: We liked the idea of giving back but we also like the idea of doing it with a twist.
Tom: Yeah, we wanted to incorporate a little bit of comedy with the giving back to people.
Greg: We put together some of our own money, and our parents helped us out a little bit because they liked the idea.
Tom: So we ended up with 10 envelopes of money, and I dressed up like I was a (Market Street) ticket guy. We did a lot of waiting… for cars to pull in, for people to get out of their cars. We wanted to catch them at the right time.. to catch their expressions.
Greg: Day 1 we only did a few. It was freezing rain out and then we ran out of daylight. We didn’t get the best reactions, but we knew either way we were still giving people some money… still doing something nice for them. The next day we did get some good reactions to put together a video – which was great because the whole idea behind making a video out of it was to inspire others to do the same thing… and to show people how much something small can really mean to someone else.
UC: It looks like that is working. In fact, you had people in your video immediately say they would “pay it forward.”
Tom: And we’ve gotten such amazing feedback online.
Greg: I think the best (has been) people saying they are going to go out and do something nice for someone else (as a result of seeing the video).
UC: You ended up capturing some pretty genuine emotions.
Greg: The last guy didn’t look at it (the “ticket”) and just took off. And we thought, “Oh well, guess we’re not going to get a reaction from him.” And then he came back later, got out of his car, didn’t say anything, walked up to Tom, gave him a hug – and it was just tons of emotion. It felt really good – that meant a lot to us.
Tom: I teared up a little. It was very emotional for us all, and we were really glad he appreciated it.
Greg: And the Salvation Army bell ringer… when we gave him the money it was awesome that he said it was for everyone. And he had Tom put it in the kettle rather than keep it for himself.
UC: When you set out to make this video, what did you think would happen as a result?
Tom: Usually when we post a video on You Tube we get like 20 shares or something. We were definitely not expecting it to be this big. We logged on the next day and it was over 1000.
Greg: It was awesome to see people from California… from all over… mentioning Corning as such a cool area. And then to see people mentioning how proud they were to be from Corning after seeing something like that.
UC: Did you have any idea you might end up acting as sort of ambassadors for the City of Corning?
Tom: We had no idea… not at all.
Greg: We thought a few close friends might say it was a cool thing to do, but we didn’t expect there to be a ton of people…
Tom: …It’s incredible.
Greg: Someone came up to me and said, “Wow, I couldn’t believe how much difference $20 could make in someone’s life.” That was a strong message.
And an equally strong message is that anyone has the potential to combine their own talents with some holiday (or any day) giving.
Greg: There are ways to incorporate your passion into anything. I’m a filmmaker so I try to incorporate video into everything I can. And that’s kinda what we were doing here… (video) is a great way to show people the act of giving – and show how much it can mean to people. It’s still great to just give, but it’s great that we could combine our passion for filmmaking with giving.
And in doing so, they have put something out there that not only tells the world how great our little city is, but shows it. And that’s something that benefits us all… whether we received one of Tom and Greg’s “tickets” on our windshield or not:)
Check out Tom & Greg’s Go Fund Me page Give Back Films to support their plans for more community-minded projects.