From Chalk to Cheer – ‘Chalkboard Guy’ Inspires a Community
Moving into a new neighborhood may seem a little daunting for most people, but not for 38-year-old Ayden Byle. After moving onto Atlas Avenue, Toronto, Ayden decided to introduce himself to the community not through house calls or street conversations, but through the simple use of a chalkboard.
Walk past the Cedervale neighborhood home on any given day, and in the window you will see a new, brightly chalked message of inspiration. From "One smile could change everything," to "Grace Trumps Karma" to "Is there any better place than here?,' Mr. Byle's charming, intuitive and comic messages have been brightening up people's days.
Local resident, Amy Freedman, told The Star, “Everybody’s talking about it. We all look forward to seeing what the message will be that day."
His notes even seem to be prophetic, as in the case of "Read the news or make the news." Over time, Byle has risen from a man with a piece of chalk, a chalkboard and a large heart to a treasured member of the community and an international news story.
Talking on his new-found hobby, Mr. Byle said,
When I first started doing it, I was a bit self-conscious. I’m a single guy, I’m in here, do people think I’m bats--- crazy? Because every night I’m in here doing my sign.”
Byle cites his father as the inspiration behind his daily messages. “My dad always taught me communication is key and enthusiasm is everything," he said. "It’s just that kind of thing you know, life is way too bloody short.”
In a society where social media sites are said to dominate our day-to-day interaction, Byle appears to have tapped into a nostalgia for handwritten communication. Maybe more people should heed his witty, yet poignant, advice and offer, "Less tweet, more chalk."
Check out a few of Byle's inspirational chalk messages below. For more, head over to Huffington Post.