Train Announcer Makes It His Mission To Bring Positive Vibes To London Commuters

"Everybody has happiness inside them, but you've got to activate it."

Commuting may not be the best part of most people's days, but this train announcer works hard to make the experience a little brighter for the travelers around him. Carl Downer, one of an estimated 800,000 people of Jamaican origin in the U.K., joined the London Underground nearly 10 years ago and has made it his mission to make people smile as they travel through Victoria Station.

Director Olly Sindle created a short film around the legendary tube announcer in an effort to find out more about the Jamaican man "with a mic and a heart of gold." The film, titled Service Update, is just four minutes long, but it was filmed over the course of a year. 

Downer moved to London from Jamaica about 24 years ago in hopes of improving his life and pursuing better opportunities. He calls London and Victoria Station his home, and the people who travel through it his family. Instead of using a monotone voice to make commuting even more mundane, Downer makes jokes, spreads positivity, and reminds people of all the things they have to be thankful for. 

"I've been blessed by God to meet the people I meet on a day-to-day basis. I smile, you smile, the whole world smiles. All we have to do is just see the best in each other, and try and get the best out of each other," Downer said. "Happiness, now, is an inbound concept. You have to make that choice to be happy. Everybody has happiness inside them, but you've got to activate it."


Downer credits his ability to communicate with and help people with his upbringing. His parents instilled these skills in him as well as his experience ushering at church. "I do it for the humor of it, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that," he said. "It's something I do easily — communicating with people, reaching out to people." 

Downer says he, like many other Jamaicans, is a huge fan of sound systems, groups of DJs, engineers, and MCs who play reggae, dancehall, ska, and rocksteady. 

"Growing up in Jamacia, everybody's like a mini MC. I follow a lot of sound systems, from Stone Love to Bass Odyssey to Killamanjaro, and we have sound clash, so everybody [is] trying to see who can beat the other one when it comes to lyrical and everything." 

So, it's no surprise he found emceeing to be a way to bring a little joy to other people's days. He hopes to inspire other people to do the same, in any way that they can. 

"See[ing] the joy I can bring to the people and knowing that I've made a positive impact in their life and in their day — that's what makes me happy," Downer said. "When you look at what's going on in life, it's not easy out there. If you can make someone's day better, whether it's just with a smile or a kind word, you got to do what you got to do. By making someone else's day better, your day automatically works out to be a brighter and better day." 

Downer's positive outlook has been able to reach even more people than those passing through Victoria Station thanks to the short film. It's been viewed more than 10,000 times on Vimeo and was even selected as a finalist in Tropfest 2017, the world's largest short film festival. Secret London also recently posted the short to its Facebook page, where it's been viewed more than 470,000 in just three days. 

You can check it out in the video above.


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