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."
You Can Change the World S1E1
Thomas runs into a commuter that can rip a deck of cards with his bare hands! And he reveals the secret on how anyone can do it! But this commuter is somewhat of an oddity; he’s the director of the world-famous Coney Island Sideshow! Then, Thomas gets a lesson in music that can change the world. He bumps into a music therapist who writes a song about “Date While You Wait” right on the spot!
Who You Gonna Call? S1E2
Thomas runs into a real ghost while waiting for commuters to sit and chat. Luckily, he knows just whom to call! Watch as the Franklin Street subway station, steps from the Ghostbuster's firehouse, gets help from a real-life ghostbuster! Then, Thomas mixes the cards to get a commuter to share some deeply personal thoughts; it’ll even get you to reflect on your own life. Finally, if you’ve ever been lost in the subway and trying to find the right exit to the street, then you’ll want to see what one commuter has designed. She’s cracked the code to show the world how to navigate New York’s famous subway.
Pour it On! S1E3
Thomas gets persuaded to go above ground when the owner of the world-famous McSorley's Old Ale House exits the turnstiles and convinces him he's got great stories to tell! Gregory, the owner of a true New York institution and the oldest Irish bar in America, shares unbelievable tales from behind the bar! Plus, Thomas meets an author who wrote the book on positive affirmations, all in an effort to help young boys!
From Subway to Song! S1E4
A while back, Thomas met a commuter who created a song about “Date While You Wait” right on the spot! Now, he’s back to debut a full-length song that will inspire everyone because a conversation really CAN change the world! You’ll then meet a commuter who takes poetry to the next level; you’ll hear some story slam that pays tribute to her mother and some old bike parts! Finally, you’ll learn to SHOCK your potential! Hear the tips that one commuter says can help you get ahead in life!
Something’s Nutty! S1E5
While on his way underground, Thomas stops for one of his favorite New York City treats! Nuts from the famed Nuts 4 Nuts street cart. To his surprise, the man working the roaster is none other than the company's owner, Argentinian-born Alejandro Rad. Thomas learns the history of how this immigrant came to the United States to create one of the city’s most favorite delights! Then, Thomas gets some allergy advice from a doctor headed to see a patient, and finally, Thomas gets to hear some classic saxophone sounds from a real subway street performer!
We Can All Use A Good Laugh! S1E6
Thomas is invited off the platform to see a live show at one of the city's most iconic institutions, the New York Comedy Club! Thomas takes a break from all the grit and grime to enjoy some much-needed laughs!
A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words! S1E7
A fellow New Yorker stakes out Thomas with a pen! You’ll meet an artist who captures other commuters as they wait for their train! Then, the beat goes on, Thomas introduces himself to a subway street performer who has been banging away for over 20 years! And we all can use an escape from reality; you’ll meet a guy who loves to get smashed with a folding chair!
Out of the Rain! S1E8
He was down on his luck, but that didn't stop him! Thomas chats with ex-NBC weatherman Chris Cimino! He explains how he lost his wife to cancer and his job predicting the weather all within a short period of time. But you'll be inspired to hear what he's doing now! Then things get sneaky! Thomas meets a sneaker-head who shows off some rare footwear! And finally, things turn to fantasy as Thomas meets the dice-master who explains his tabletop role-playing games.
Holy Cannoli! S1E9
Thomas bumps into the owner of Little Italy's world-famous Ferrara Bakery and Café! Thomas is coerced to ditch his table and chairs, and heads up to the kitchen to learn how to fill some Cannoli! Then, Thomas deals the cards and learns some revealing facts from a harried commuter; you may learn a few things about yourself as well!
I’m With the Band! S1E10
Thomas gets to tap his feet to a unique, folksy duo who play their love letter of a song to New York! Then, Thomas goes head to head to see if he can beat a commuter at Four in a Row, things didn’t go well! And finally, you’ll be inspired by a commuter who used his time on lockdown to bring beauty to the world!
Comic Relief S1E11
Meet a commuter who has created his own comic universe; it turns out Thomas is a big fan! Then what makes the perfect beat? Meet a record producer who spins off some tricks of the trade. Then, it's not Dr. Evil, but Dr. Laser; Thomas meets a unique character who enjoys playing with light waves! And finally, a big fan bumps into Thomas as he's headed home for the night!
A Little Off the Top S1E12
Thomas meets a unique hairdresser who thought “Date While You Wait” was an actual dating activity. You’ll hear how a real New Yorker hustles to make it in the big city! Then, Thomas becomes a game show host as he asks one New Yorker to play a quiz game. Finally, Thomas gets blown away when he meets a balloon artist who sculpts some latex before his eyes!
All Aboard! S1E13
Thomas bumps into the guy who wrote the book on the subway! John Morris gives Thomas a tour around the city, showing off hidden secrets from the subway's past! Then, Thomas gets a friendly visit from a guy who thinks he's the Four in a Row master! And finally, you'll get some advice from one commuter who says, "What's the worst that can happen?"