Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Underground Challenge: July 5th Recap

Inspire a Stranger Day was on Monday! I apologise for not getting this up Monday night, but by the time we got in I was knackered. So this is an apology from two fronts, one for being slow and two for already failing to keep to my schedule. I have to admit, I saw that coming. But I will be sure to write at least two posts a week, just maybe not on strict days.

Anyway, staying on topic...

Monday was fantastic! A group of us went around London (mainly on the tube but the streets got some attention too) sparking up conversation with hundreds of commuters throughout the day. Four of us donned plain white tee's with 'Underground Challenge' and 'Inspire a Stranger' drawn on the fronts and backs. We had a basket filled with sweets to hand out to people as well as passing around cards saying things like "don't forget to smile" and "you're beautiful".

We also had a poet in our group handing out his poetry in envelopes to people. Peter started the day quite shy but as time went on we noticed a change in him which was nice, as he grew in confidence! 

Most people were confused by us and kept trying to offer us money. I imagine if we accepted half the money we were offered we would have made back the groups train fare to London! Lots of people smiled with us and had a chat about how great they thought the idea was and how we brightened up there day. Some people pretended we didn't exist. 

On the way back to Paddington Station I sat down next to a man with a newspaper. It was quitting time, we were tired. I decided to offer him a sweet anyway and we ended up talking all the way to my stop. He started off by not wanting a sweet but he did take a "smile" card which he promised to put on his desk at work the next day. He was telling me all the reasons people like the silence on the Underground and why Londoners don't talk to each other; a lot of which I could understand and agree with. But he kept talking to me, even though I was willing to sit back and let him read his paper! I think he was intrigued by the whole idea and kept asking questions and telling us that up North people talk to each other all the time. Finally, he took a sweet. I call that a victory. 

In fact, the whole day was a victory!

We lost Danni and Jake on the tube as we jumped off and the doors closed before they made it. The carriage was full of school kids. Apparently they ate the rest of Danni's brownies! One kid saw "free hugs" written on the back of her tee and asked for one. Next thing she knows ALL of the little kids are hugging her! I wish we could have seen it! Better yet I wish Jake had a camera on him so we could all see it!

We got a few pictures through out the day but not too many. Peter had a camera but had to leave us for work so I was left using my phone. Nokia's are known for the camera skills... But here is an example of a happy commuter being fed =p
Quite a few people let us take pictures with them smiling away =] If you'd like to see those, head over to the Facebook Group!

You can also see a couple of photos other people took to show their contribution to the day! 

Such as:

All the way from Porto, Portugal! 

Hopefully other photos and videos come in so we can see what everyone else got up to! If you guys did anything on Monday and took a picture, please share it with us!



  1. I'm really happy to hear how big this project is growing! I guess you guys will soon appear in the local News - please let us know!

    Congratulations Penny, on such a great and thoughtful idea.

    Kisses dear!

  2. Hi Superpennie,
    I enjoyed your description of "Underground Challenge"; you really captured the atmosphere of the day. I think the best bit was your account of Danni and Jake's encounter with the kids. I would dearly have loved to have seen this, as I believe hugs and cakes are a good way to empathise with people.
    At first, I was not sure how to take this underground challenge and thought of it as a bit of conceptual art. However, after a few minutes, I realised that you and Kaity-lou had envisioned it more as a way of spreading a little joy and happiness.
    I found the whole idea of talking to strangers on the tube amazingly worthwhile and it was wonderful to watch you, Katie-lou, Jake, and Danni in action.

    Thanks for dreaming up such a fun project.

    Hugs, Peter