DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Picture this. You drive-by a stranger, roll down your window, and yell out a compliment. It may sound corny, but it’s the way one Dallas business has created a viral social media frenzy.
To understand this story, you need to know who’s behind it.
La La Land is a kind cafe that hires foster youth aging out of the system, and with every cup of coffee comes a free compliment.
“Simple ones, like ‘You look great today,’ or ‘You guys are a beautiful couple,'” said Francois Reihani, the founder of the cafe.
But when COVID-19 shut their doors, staff took their kindness to the streets instead, filming the simple acts they did every day inside the coffee shop, in their cars. And boom. A viral sensation.
“Our first viral video was filmed right here off of Oak Lawn,” said Reihani.
His marketing crew was with him. They say it was sort of a happy accident.
“We were driving on Oak Lawn when I saw the first man and I told him he was beautiful,” said Hazel Villareal. “He had a crazy reaction.”
The videos are filmed mostly in and around Dallas, but some have been created in other cities and states.
Their “Drive-by Kindness Episodes” have amassed them 5.5 million followers on TikTok. That’s more than some of the world’s largest companies including Disney, Nike, and Dunkin ‘Donuts.
“When we saw that we had passed all these other big companies, it was a couple weeks ago … we were all in shock,” Reihani said.
And though from a marketing standpoint it’s an incredible accomplishment, they say the followers were never the goal in the first place.
“Those little acts of kindness end up changing the world,” said Jeremiah Sabado, who helps create the videos. “We have done this probably 100 times now, but the magic and the spark of it never fades.