C-Train high-five guy doing it '100 per cent just for fun'
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To many Calgarians, he’s known only as the “high-five guy.”
Marckus Wesley has become a local legend for slapping hands with Calgary Transit riders, telling jokes and urging them to meet their next-seat neighbours.
Wesley’s celebrity recently vaulted to new highs when one of his daily spiels to LRT riders was posted on YouTube.
He was dubbed a mystery man in a front-page mention on the city’s major broadsheet newspaper and friends have said he even got a nod on popular TV show Good Morning America.
In his first-ever interview, Wesley chuckled when asked about those who think he’s crazy for trying to brighten people’s daily trips.
“It is honestly, 100 per cent just for fun,” he said. “It’s just to play.
“Smiles and high-fives — that’s it.”
The cheery 33-year-old construction worker, however, has managed to keep his tumultuous life story out of the public spotlight.
Wesley has struggled with booze and depression, including a more recent bout brought on by a string of bad luck in which he busted up his ankle, big toe and knuckles, and had his heart broken, too.
When not couch surfing with friends over the past few months, he's lived at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre to get in the “right head space” and build a stronger financial footing.
That hasn't stopped him from extending a hand to hundreds of his Drop-In Centre floormates for a high-five or fist-bump.
Wesley says a few reciprocated, adding there’s nothing that can drag down his spirits right now.
“If you let it, being there will eat you up,” he said of the homeless shelter. “I just bring my normal self there.
“A lot of people don’t understand it.”
Northeast LRT rider Abid Khan didn't get the fuss at first, but soon realized Wesley was just trying to make people happy on what can sometimes be a gloomy commute.
“It made a world of difference,” said Khan.
While hanging fives in public spots for more than a decade, Wesley admits it’s only been a couple years since he realized the CTrain was the “perfect venue” because he’s got a captive audience through design.
There are some perks. Wesley has turned down three wedding proposals and been offered free haircuts for life.
Then there’s the downside. He claims to have been punched in the face on three occasions and stabbed once.
“It could’ve been their bad day and a high-five just wouldn’t cut it,” he said.