One of Melbourne’s most recognised identities, a man who carries a giant carrot around the city, has shared the touching reason behind his bizarre ritual.
In an interview posted to the Humans in Melbourne Facebook page, the man known only as Nathan, explained his reason was pure and simple – to make people smile.
His choice of large vegetable hasn’t always stayed the same – at first he carried around a giant turnip he found at an op shop.
“I was carrying it home and noticed how much it made people smile. That made me feel really good. So I decided to try carrying other giant things around,” Nathan said.
He decided to trial a giant octopus and a giant squid, but neither attracted the same volume of smiles as his giant carrot.
“The diversity of people smiling and the number of people smiling was much greater. So I just kept carrying the carrot around because it was the most successful thing at making people smile,” he said.
Nathan, who is on a disability pension, said he would have preferred continue carrying around his giant squid, but in the end it was the smiles that spoke for themselves.
He said heading out with his carrot and seeing the reaction from the public had helped get him off the couch and gave his life purpose.
In one instance, he saw a political protest in Melbourne unfolding on his television, so decided to take his carrot to the centre of the chaos.
“It worked so well, people started smiling when they saw me and the carrot and I think it helped calm them down,” he said.
On a regular day, Nathan inspires hundreds of smiles, but said he had to be in the right mood to get the job done.
“This is what’s so good about it, if I want to do something good I just grab my carrot and head on out,” he said.
Hundreds commented on the Facebook post sharing anecdotes of their own interactions with Nathan, some saying they first met him up to seven years ago.
“I spotted Nathan for the first time six years ago ... I never knew his name or story but always remember the man with the giant carrot,” someone wrote.
“I saw him seven years ago for the first time. He was so humbling. I took a bite of his carrot and he remained happy as ever,” another person said.
Many shared photos of times they had interacted or seen Nathan out in action.
In one photo he was seen reading a book on a tram next to his carrot, another was of him walking down the street with the huge vegetable hiked up on his shoulder.
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