Toronto subway busker stunned by sweet Christmas payday
TORONTO -- A Toronto busker got the biggest payday of his life when a group of people he believed were commuters suddenly tipped him hundreds of dollars as he serenaded them at a subway station.
Mo Guzman, 26, a full-time busker for five years, told CTVNews.ca he was ”shocked and surprised” when people starting dropping $20, $50 and $100 dollar notes in his guitar case.
But all was not as it seems. The money actually came from Toronto marketing company Zulu Alpha Kilo, which wanted to do a good deed for the holidays.
The agency reached out to the Toronto Transit Commission to see if they knew of a busker they could help. The TTC, which holds auditions for subway performers and issues permits for performers, quickly identified Guzman from Burlington.
When cameras arrived on November 26 to film Guzman at King subway station, officials from the TTC told him that he was being filmed for a documentary on subway buskers.
A video posted on Friday shows Guzman’s genuine shock as 40 Zulu Alpha Kilo employees approached and paid him some very generous tips.
Guzman was singing the Motown classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” at the time with his beagle Milo by his side. In the video he becomes emotional as a series of cameras catch his candid reaction.
“What is happening right now?” he asks.
The crowd eventually gathers around him and claps to the music, with a few people stepping forward to dance.
Overwhelmed, Guzman addressed the group.
“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,” he said.
Guzman told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview that people are usually in “better spirits this time of year,” but this was still far beyond his expectations.
“When I came into the station today I was expecting to play a few tunes, make some people happy, make some people smile,” he said in the video.
“I feel like years of working on the subway and making people smile is paying off in its own way. I feel so fortunate.”
Guzman and his partner welcomed their daughter Malia almost four months ago. He thanked the company and the TTC for the kind gesture.
“I think the most important part of the message is that kindness is contagious,” said Zulu Alpha Kilo founder Zak Mroueh.