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In June of 2015, amid the grit and grime of the New York City subway system, one man wanted to bring some fun and compassion to harried commuters.
This man, Thomas Knox, 28, decided to set up a small table and chairs and invite random strangers to sit down for a chat or a game while they waited for their train.
Knox called it "Date While You Wait," but finding a date was not his objective. "I am not looking for love through this particular venue; I just wanted a simple way for people to have a positive social interaction outside of traditional media.
People need to communicate more face to face." Knox says.
The setup also included a flower in a soda bottle. "It brings beauty and nature into what is a normally dark, dreary space," says Knox.
The location for the project always remained a secret until Knox sent out which subway station he'll be set up at using Instagram and Facebook. Guests are then invited to share their experience using the hashtag #datewhileyouwait.
"I wanted to have a conversation. I just wanted people to talk to me; I wanted them to tell me a little bit about themselves, tell me how their day went; I feel like I've had some amazing connections, one on one." Knox says.
Within a few months of his little experiment, "Date While You Wait" exploded on social media and then onto the mainstream media. Every news outlet in the world was reaching out to Thomas, including the New York Times, CBS, BBC, NBC, NPR, Timeout Magazine, The Philadelphia Enquirer, and everything in between.
He was then hired to travel around the world speaking to kids and spreading his "Don't be afraid to try new things" mantra. He also sells a unique line of bow ties that continue to preach his gospel. They say things like "BE GREAT" and "YOU CAN DO IT."
Now, with all his success, Thomas will get a bigger soapbox in which to speak and be seen. Knox has signed with the Emmy-Award winning production company, David Harris Katz Entertainment. Together they will allow viewers to peer into Knox's conversations and listen to the intimate details that made Knox New York's underground therapist. A full season is now available for licensing.
"I am not looking for love through this
particular venue, I just wanted a simple way for people to have a positive social interaction outside of traditional social media, people need to communicate more face to face."