The UnLonely Film Festival: Best of Fest

Agent of Connection

A portrait of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station agent William Cromartie who greets 4,000 Oakland commuters every day with a hug, a fist-bump, or a handshake. Transcending barriers so that we can better know and care about each other, this man of accomplishment and a winning philosophy feels he has the best job in the world.

About the Filmmaker

Ivan Cash is Bay Area-based award-winning interactive artist and film director exploring the intersection of art, design, film, and technology. His work sparks cultural conversations, celebrates human connection, and inspires strangers to interact.

Connections

Dive Even Deeper

Try the following to connect further with the film’s story…

  • Write a letter of appreciation to a person who has a regular positive impact on your life. Whether it is your doorman, a neighbor, a local business owner, or someone else, write a letter, sign your name, and share your appreciation for the connection they make you feel in your life.
  • Create a diorama to represent a time when you felt “in a box.” Take an actual cardboard box or shoebox (or any other box you have on hand), and find a photograph of yourself or others that connect to that time in your life, and use them to wallpaper and decorate the box. If you don’t have any photos, you can draw an image and use that. You can also include small personal mementos from the time that will help to place you historically.

63 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I loved the message of how you often put yourself in a box. So true!

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  2. Anonymous

    positivity is contagious!

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  3. Amy

    Beautiful – change your outlook, change your life.

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  4. Anonymous

    Yea what a great view on self doubt, no one put me in this box and I can get myself out of that box. Very empowering

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  5. anonymous

    So true, each person needs to change their outlook and things change for the better for you and those around you,

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  6. Anonymous

    I love how positive he is and the positive impact he tries to have on those he interacts with

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  7. Anonymous

    very positive

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  8. Anonymous

    very good positive story

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  9. Anonymous

    I find the story to be inspiring but I disagree that connecting is the easiest thing there is

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  10. Anonymous

    Great example about not being stuck and ability to change it wanting change

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  11. Anna

    The box message is helpful.

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  12. Sandy Beckvall

    Engaging with people brings meaning to life.

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  13. Sandy Beckvall

    Wonderful story about engaging with others.

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  14. Anonymous

    Great reminder that we put ourselves in box and we are the only ones that get take ourselves out. Amen.

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  15. Ronda Scroggins

    Great reminder that you can change your lifer direction.

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  16. Anonymous

    It is a very simple message that we all can practice. Reach out to others and make them feel special

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  17. CM

    It is incredible how much this man’s smile, hug or fist bump can turn around one’s day. I wonder if he realized the magnitude of his impact on the people he comes into contact with daily.

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  18. Anonymous

    That was lovely!

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  19. Debb Stanton

    I loved this man’s attitude; positivity breeds positivity. I think if people can sense you have love in your heart, they will appreciate the extra smile or greeting you may have for them.

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  20. Anonymous

    Great attitude… being positive is contagious

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  21. Anonymous

    An an introvert, this guy fascinates me. I wish he were my neighbor.

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  22. CK Burton

    I echo the value of connection, and positivity. It made me smile to watch him engage with the passengers, but made me sad to recognize the connections that helped him thrive in his work has likely been altered. It made me wonder if he is back in the box, and hope all is well with him and his family. A follow-up film with observations on how the events of 2020 has changed ability to connect on a deeper level and insights or recommendations to have meaningful engagements.

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  23. Anonymous

    Must be a challenge during this time of COVID. I hope he is doing well now with those restrictions but I would bet he still does greet his folks in some way.

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  24. Anonymous

    What a great message.

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  25. Anonymous

    He is a change agent; if you connect you charge lives ! Love this story.

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  26. April

    I liked that he is a change agent. Connecting with people creates change in so many unforeseen ways. Loved this video

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  27. Anonymous

    What a great message, so very true

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  28. Anonymous

    I love his reminder to us that he needed more than a high school diploma to get the job. Up against 5,000 other applicants, and one of 30 people eventually hired.

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  29. Anonymous

    Loved this film, very inspirational, it’s the American Dream we all strive for

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  30. Anonymous

    This is the epitome of the American dream, being hard working and kind while doing it, loved it

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  31. Anonymous

    He has positive attitude and energy. I hope he continues that energy in this difficult time of covid.

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  32. FS

    He has a great energy and attitude. I hope he continues that energy during covid and stay safe.

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  33. LKH

    Great message

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  34. Anonymous

    Loves his job.

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  35. Anonymous

    Good MF – respect for your gratitude going both ways.

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  36. Anonymous

    Very positive attitude who makes a difference in people’s lives with the briefest of encounter.

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  37. Anonymous

    Very positive outlook

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  38. M

    He is a very positive person, who shares his positivity to others.

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  39. Saoudy Saoudy

    People’s man. Very positive and they pay him for this.?!. He applies the moto love what you do so you end up to do what you love. I wish I go to the Bay area to shake hand with him.

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  40. Anonymous

    Nice to see that level of engagement, with genuine care for others while at work!

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  41. T

    Loved the message that we can be in control of our destiny if we get out of the box and try

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  42. Aaron Ornelas

    Everyone needs connections, we are apart of something bigger than individuals.

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  43. Anonymous

    We need more people like William ! Keep up the good work.

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  44. Anonymous

    Great story.

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  45. Anonymous

    Wonderful Sstory

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  46. Anonymous

    Very wonderful story about community and life

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  47. Anonymous

    Itis wonderful. I really like how he made a personal choice. Chose happiness more than status.

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  48. Anonymous

    Impressive! Love his attitude!!!

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  49. David Schmitter

    Great story. As a former receptionist (for 7 yrs from ’92-’99), I understand the power of connection in simple greetings. I also wonder how the pandemic has changed his job, and that of so many others. Wearing a mask hides your smile – so how does that affect people in these roles? Still, I agree that pulling oneself out of ‘your box’ takes initiative (and sometimes a Higher power). We must take the first step toward a brighter future. He applied himself against great odds – and never lost hope.

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  50. Anonymous

    A simple smile can brighten lots of people’s day. A simple hello can make people feel care.

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  51. Courtney

    Great story! Need more people like William.

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  52. Anonymous

    good message

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  53. Anonymous

    very positive message

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  54. Anonymous

    I never did buy into the saying of – it is what it is – It’s not! We have control to step out of the box and to connect with other just being who we really are.

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  55. Anonymous

    So good to see the invaluable human connection that comes from living life intentionally.

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  56. Anonymous

    Inspiring, but not everyone has the same ability to derive so much benefit from greeting people and socializing. It’s harder for some than for others.

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  57. Jasmine Bauer

    Beautiful and so encouraging

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  58. Cevia Yellin

    This is such a touching story.

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  59. Anonymous

    Such a great representation of what one person can do to effect so many in a good way. Loved it!

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  60. Anonymous

    What a great model of how we can all recognize the people we encounter each day.

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  61. Anonymous

    great message! inspires me to get out of my own box and say hello.

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  62. michael taylor

    Terrific story. Uplifting. Well done William and Ivan. Thanks

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  63. Anne Zenzer

    Everyone must look forward to seeing you and connecting! Love it!

    Reply

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