KETTERING — As a musician, Randy Gaines has performed in front of thousands of people without a twinge of stage fright, but the former Piqua body-piercing artist wasn’t prepared for the audience that comes with internet exposure.
“I‘ve played in front of lots of people and that didn’t bother me, but I was a little shy about being on video,” said Gaines, who worked for Extreme Tattoo on Water Street from 2003 to 2008, and lives in Kettering, where he’s the owner-operator of Randy Gaines Piercing Co.
The video in question features Gaines, 45, having a candid chat with his 6-year-old daughter about her feelings. The father-daughter tête-à-tête arose from a moment of playful teasing that the little girl took to heart.
“She’d been kind of moody all day, kind of grumpy,” said Gaines, who asked that the child’s name not be used. “She has this favorite book, ‘Moody Moose Buttons,” an old Sweet Pickles book that I had as a kid, and I called her ‘Moody Moose.’ We joke, tease and play around a lot, and I guess it bothered her.”
Later, Gaines found his daughter “in her room, kind of pouting,” so he picked her up, sat her on the table and started talking to her about what was bothering her and encouraging her to share her feelings. It’s a warm and moving snapshot of a father respecting his young child’s boundaries, validating her feelings and empowering her.
Unbeknownst to the doting dad, his wife, Deceena, was recording the tender exchange and subsequently posted it on her Facebook page, where some friends requested that she make the video public. From there, it took off like a rocket — spreading across the U.S. and to far-flung locales including England, Scotland, Australia and India — and clocking more than 3 million viewers as of earlier this week.
The video is featured on blogs and websites including Scary Mommy and Love What Matters, and has even made its way to Ellennation.com, where it had been viewed more than 34,000 times by Friday morning.
When asked if he could explain the video’s widespread popularity, Gaines speculated that its positive message, “rawness, emotion and honesty” struck a chord with people.
“If I had to guess, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of positive things out there, so it’s kind of refreshing to see a personal, intimate moment,” he said. “Plus, a lot of stuff is staged, so I think maybe this kind of connected with people.”
“I felt a little weirded out about it at first, but once I saw the feedback and that (the video) was helping people, I was quickly okay with it.”
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