'Prank It Forward' flips prank paradigm

By Rebecca Hoeffner rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

Fact about me: I love pranks — but I'm terrible at pulling them off.

I woke up April 1st giddy to see what my new husband would think of my little pranks for our first April Fool's Day.

Prank number one: I switched the bags in our cereal boxes (he HATES my healthy cereal, I couldn't wait to see his face when it poured out of his box). Prank number two: I covered the sensor on his computer mouse with a note "xoxo, your wife." I just knew he would get so frustrated and entertaining before he finally figured it out.

Turns out he didn't want cereal that morning, and I giggled so much when he turned on his computer that he knew something was up.

But throughout the day, I heard of pranks that were exponentially better than mine.

These pranks were better not only because they were pulled off with the full element of surprise, but they were gifts instead of tricks.

"Prank It Forward" was created to inspire people to do nice things instead of traditional pranks. In one video, a team transformed a homeless shelter into a five-star restaurant, complete d←cor and gourmet food like filet mignon.

The residents of the shelter were surprised and delighted to say the least.

Throughout the evening, when the "pranksters" greeted the residents as valued customers, bashful smiles spread over the residents' faces.

At the end of the evening, the residents received gift baskets — one cheered as she pulled out a set of nail clippers — and the shelter was presented with a $5,000 donation.

"It was delicious," one resident said when asked what she thought. "Was that filet mignon? I've never had it before."

Several other residents hadn't either.

The other prank video featured a waitress, Chelsea, who got several surprises from friends, coworkers, and Break.com, including a $1,000 tip, a free trip to Hawaii, and a new car. When she's not waitressing, Chelsea runs a nonprofit inspired by her own life experiences. She had battled an eating disorder and used yoga to help conquer it. Now she runs a small nonprofit where she teaches yoga to people who struggle with eating disorders as well. One of the biggest surprises was that a psychologist caught wind of her work and asked her if she wanted to partner together to reach more people in need.

For every 1,000 views each "Prank It Forward" video gets, Break.com said it will donate $1 to the nonprofit website DoSomething.org with a ceiling of $30,000.

Is this the direction that April Fool's Day "pranks" are headed? I would be all for it — although I'll still look forward to traditionally pranking my husband for years to come.



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