How many Hollywood films have been able to grip you at your very core in less than 3 minutes?
A commercial out of Thailand, featured recently on Gawker.com, does just that. The headline reads “This Three Minute Commercial Puts Full-Length Hollywood Films to Shame,” and after watching this tightly woven, whirlwind of conflict, resolution and redemption I couldn’t agree more.
SPOILER ALERT! If you want to watch the video before reading about the story itself, do so here:
The commercial, which could be considered a short film, opens with a young Thai boy who is caught stealing medicine in a busy marketplace. After being accused and berated by the shopkeeper, a nearby restauranteur comes to his rescue, unravels the boy’s motives, pays for the medicine and then asks his daughter to provide the child’s sick mother with some veggie soup.
As you can gather, the grace and compassion shown to the boy is unmerited. The restaurant owner did not need to pay for the medicine but did so, going above and beyond what most people would have done.
You can imagine this scene plays out regularly given the quick response and tender way the restaurant owner responded to a very present need.
Thirty years pass and we see the man and his daughter, a crown of grey hair on his head, tirelessly serving customers while still showing kindness to the less fortunate around him. After serving someone, he falls to the ground and hits his head. His daughter takes him to the hospital and awakens to the very real prospect of losing the family business and then some to pay for his bills.
Following his surgery, the daughter consulted with her father’s doctor and reviewed the X-rays. Upon returning to her father’s bedside, she finds a new copy of the bill, stating a zero balance. Confused, she reads on to learn that the payment was made thirty years earlier. Little did she know at the time that the doctor who operated on her father and cared for him was that same boy who had been shown such unmerited love and compassion at her father’s restaurant three decades earlier.
Stories need not be longer than a few minutes to reach deep within the human soul. This commercial proved it.
What would it take to communicate like that?