A Sylvania native is taking his practiced craft of giving compliments on a 10-city tour this summer.
Cameron Brown, one of the two "Compliment Guys" of Purdue University, begins saying nice things to people today in New Orleans and will travel across the East Coast during a two-week "BrightSide Tour" sponsored by Kodak.
Mr. Brown, 20, and his friend Brett Westcott, also 20, got national attention for their kindness by appearing on Good Morning America and in a university video of them on campus posted on YouTube that has been viewed more than 43,000 times.
"It's a little bit ridiculous," Mr. Brown said of the attention. "It's awesome and amazing. We're still kind of in awe and question why it's happening and what's going on."
Mr. Brown, who is a 2007 graduate of Sylvania Northview High School, said he was surprised when Kodak approached them, but excited to spread their message even further.
"We always thought we would just do it in our local area and boost spirits there, and that was awesome," Mr. Brown said.
Leslie Dance, Kodak's vice president of worldwide brand marketing and communications, said the summer partnership is a perfect fit. "We believe that it's time to smile and these guys are obviously out there to make people do that," she said.
Kodak found the Compliment Guys through YouTube and really liked the feel-good trend that is coming about. Plus, there's not a lot of good news out there these days and people could use a little cheering up, Ms. Dance said.
"It's that genuine passion that they have that we want to get out with our communications and efforts we do," she said.
Mr. Westcott, who originally came up with the idea to stand outside the chemistry building on Purdue's West Lafayette, Ind., campus, said they joked at first about getting sponsored.
They didn't really think it would happen or see compliments spread like this, he said.
"I am just ecstatic that this little idea I had, that this random act of kindness, has blown up into such a big thing," Mr. Westcott said. "I'm having kids who are messaging me online asking me if they can start free compliments at their school."
For the record, you don't need his permission, Mr. Westcott said.
The guys are paid a fee by Kodak - the company would only say it's a "nominal fee" - which is providing the Winnebago branded for the tour.
After the first stop in New Orleans, the guys will go to Birmingham, Ala.; Atlanta; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte; Washington; Baltimore; Philadelphia, and New York. The tour ends in Rochester, N.Y.
A Web site, brightsidetour.com, has been set up where the Compliment Guys will blog about their experiences and post photos and videos of them in action.
There hasn't been much practice for the tour because the Compliment Guys prefer to fly by the seat of their pants.
"Brett and I are pretty quick on our feet," Mr. Brown said. "We love giving compliments and talking to people and opening up with people."
Mr. Westcott agreed.
"You can't really prep for compliments," he said. "We really just go off the top of our heads out there."
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