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Toronto busker and new dad gets surprised with big Christmas payday — watch

Mo Guzman thought he was being filmed for a documentary, but some holiday elves had a different plan for the subway musician.

Mo Guzman thought he was being filmed for a documentary, but some holiday elves had a different plan

Toronto subway busker Mo Guzman got the surprise of a lifetime when people started dropping big bills in his guitar case. (YouTube)

A Toronto busker got the surprise of his life when random strangers began putting bigger and bigger tips into his guitar case — first $20 bills, then $50, then $100.

Musician Mo Guzman, who has been a full-time street musician for four years, had been asked to participate in a documentary about Toronto buskers.

What he didn't realize, however, was that there was no documentary in the works; rather, Toronto marketing company Zulu Alpha Kilo had contacted the Toronto Transit Commission to ask if they knew a busker who could use a little extra help.

In a video posted on Friday, Guzman can be seen singing the Marvin Gaye classic How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) — also a hit for James Taylor — at the King subway station as transit riders walk by, dropping change into his guitar case.

As the denominations get larger, Guzman realizes something is going on, and says, "What is happening right now?" 

Watch:

"I just recently had my daughter, she's like three months old. Just doing my thing as a first time dad and honestly thank you," he says in the video. "I'm at a loss for words, I've never had an experience like this. I feel truly blessed."

Guzman says that morning he headed to the station, fully expecting a documentary shoot, and was floored as the cash started flowing.

"Naturally, at first I thought, 'Whoa, that's quite generous of these folks,'" said Guzman in an email to q.

"I was in shock. I thought I had won some hidden busker's lottery. Honestly, I felt like I was watching everything happen on a TV show."

The total haul amounted to more than $2,000.

"It definitely makes a big difference. It paid the bills for the month and then some," says Guzman, who says he feels "blessed, grateful and fortunate."

Guzman's dog Milo, who appears in the video, also benefited. Says Guzman, "he definitely got some extra treats on the way home."

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About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

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