Somewhere, over the rainbow, commuters aren't sandwiched on a train.
But on a dreary morning in Perth, Australia, earlier this week, they were quietly standing shoulder-to-shoulder, undoubtedly going to great lengths to avoid awkward eye contact. That's when kindhearted prankster Peter Sharp piped up from the front of the car:
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen," he opened. "I’d like to contribute to this train ride by saying thank you. Thank you for waking up so early on this cold, wintry morning. Thank you for deciding to come out of your warm, cozy homes to make your way to work. Thank you for working to provide for your families, for your friends, for your futures."
Video of the incident shows nervous riders glancing around, perhaps wondering what they'll be asked to purchase as a captive audience. Instead, Sharp begins handing out lyrics to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and invites fellow commuters to join him in singing, "because it's not what we have, it's what we enjoy that brings happiness."
As a hidden ukulele player starts strumming the chords, Sharp starts singing. Commuters awkwardly join in, muttering the lyrics politely, albeit with quiet hesitation.
Fast forward three minutes and the whole car is singing loudly and smiling as both the song and the train reach their natural stopping points.
In a blog accompanying the video, Sharp acknowledged that he and his group, The Liberators, planted a few folks in the car to help get the ball rolling, but not many.
"More than 60 percent of the passengers who sung along were complete strangers," said Michelle, one of the "Liberators." "We sung the entire song, progressively gaining confidence and participants as we went. When we finished an uproar of positive emotion, claps, cheers and smiles came streaming from the people."
The Perth singalong is one of the group's more successful stunts so far, Sharp told the Sydney Morning Herald. They hope to orchestrate similar "spontaneous acts of joy" in five other cities in Europe, he said.
"It created this electricity in the air and when we got off the train there were just smiles beaming from all of the people on the train," Sharp told the paper. "We had one of our mates stay on the train a few extra stops to see the impact after we left. People wished each other a nice day after we had gone which was great."
How's that for a rainbow connection?