The TTC—Toronto Transit Commission—has a Subway Musician’s Program that has been in place for more than 35 years. For budding musicians, it’s a great way to gain exposure. There are 25 dedicated spots where 75 licenced musical acts are showcased.
Buskers need to audition to get a spot, and it’s a tough process, but once they’re part of the “Underground Sounds” they love playing for the 416 million rides that go through the system every year.
A few weeks ago, busker Mo Guzman got the surprise of his life when a cash mob descended on him.
He told CTVNews that he was “shocked and surprised” when people began dropping $20, $50, and $100 bills in his guitar case. I’m sure he was!
The Story Behind the Story
While it would have been awesome if this was just a random group of subway riders who started dropping large bills in his case, there is a bit more to the story than that.
But don’t worry, it’s still awesome.
The money that riders had in hand actually came from a Toronto marketing company, Zulu Alpha Kilo. They wanted to do a good deed for the holidays.
The company got in contact with the TTC and asked if they were aware of a busker who could use some help. And they said they were. 26-year-old Mo Guzman of Burlington, Ontario.
The TTC also worked with Zulu Alpha Kilo to set the stage. When cameramen showed up to film Guzman at the King St. Station, he wasn’t suspicious at all. They had informed him a documentary about subway buskers was being filmed, and he would be part of it.
Guzman is Overwhelmed
Guzman was doing his thing, singing the Motown classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”, his beagle named Milo lying beside him. His shock is clear as a group of 40 strangers start to converge and begin leaving extremely generous tips for him.
He begins to get emotional, and you can hear him murmur,
“What is happening right now?”
By the end of his song, the crowd has gathered around him. Some are recording, some are dancing, some are standing and clapping. And Guzman remains a little stunned.
He shares a few fist bumps and hugs and then addresses the crowd.
“I just recently had my daughter, she’s like three months old. Just doing my thing as a first-time dad and honestly thank you. I’m at a loss for words, I’ve never had an experience like this. I feel truly blessed.”
In a later interview with CTVNews, he shared that people are typically in “better spirits this time of year,” but he never would have expected something like this.
On camera, he shares,
“When I came into the station today, I was expecting to play a few tunes, make some people happy, make some people smile.” He continues, “I feel like years of working on the subway and making people smile is paying off in its own way. I feel so fortunate.”
He Expresses His Thanks
Guzman was very thankful to both the TTC and also the company for their extremely kind gesture.
As for Zulu Alpha Kilo, their founder, Zak Mroueh said,
“I think the most important part of the message is that kindness is contagious.”
Play it forward, Toronto!
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