Nightly News | April 12, 2012
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally tonight, we have a great story out of Los Angeles , East LA to be precise. It's about a nine-year-old boy, a cardboard dream, and finally a first customer who changed everything for him. The story tonight from NBC 's Miguel Almaguer .
MIGUEL ALMAGUER reporting: On the tough streets of East LA , tucked between a junkyard and an auto repair shop is a little boy 's dream.
Mr. CAINE MONROY: I started with a basketball net that I glued to a box that I kept getting bigger.
ALMAGUER: Over a long summer, nine-year-old Caine Monroy , an arcade enthusiast, set up shop in his dad's shop.
Mr. C. MONROY: Yeah, if you make a basket you get two points. I got tokens.
ALMAGUER: To keep busy, he turns scraps of cardboard and tape into Caine 's Arcade .
Mr. GEORGE MONROY (Caine's Father): He's got a big imagination. He dreams big.
ALMAGUER: There was just one problem, for weeks and weeks and weeks, no customers, no one to play.
Mr. NIRVAN MULLICK: And his dad told me that I was his first and only customer.
ALMAGUER: Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick was looking for a car part; instead, he found inspiration.
Mr. MULLICK: When you score a point, he would crawl into the box and he pulls out these little tickets out of the side of the cardboard.
Mr. C. MONROY: Like real arcade games , tickets come from the bottom.
Mr. MULLICK: And I was like this kid's a genius.
ALMAGUER: Mullick turned Caine 's story into a 10-minute web video. All it needed was a happy ending.
Mr. MULLICK: We hatched a plan to invite everybody in LA to come play Caine 's Arcade .
ALMAGUER: Word spread on the Web and cameras were there when a little boy 's dream...
Mr. MULLICK: What's going on over here?
ALMAGUER: ...came to life.
Mr. MULLICK: We finally got some customers here.
Group: We came to play! We came to play!
ALMAGUER: Caine 's Arcade went viral. Kids loved it.
Mr. JOJO ROMAN: Man, I don't know what to say. You're just famous.
ALMAGUER: And grown-ups didn't just watch, they gave; $100,000 donated to a college fund for Caine . What do you want to be when you grow up?
Mr. C. MONROY: Like someone that invents games.
ALMAGUER: Someone that invents games? You already did that, huh? Pretty good at it?
Mr. C. MONROY: Yeah.
ALMAGUER: One little boy 's summer project now inspiring countless others to think outside the box . Miguel Almaguer, NBC News, Los Angeles .