Dennis Monchamp brings an unbridled energy, enthusiasm and exuberance to his job. It’s the kind of attitude that has caught the eye of thousands of motorists who can’t help but smile when they see him at work.
The Langford resident has been dancing with a sign for the Fido store most Thursdays and Fridays for about a year at the entrance to Millstream Village on Millstream Road. He’s become a social media sensation and many people have taken the time to express how good Monchamp makes them feel, said his father, Claude.
“It’s actually a little surprising and startling how much attention he’s received,” dad noted. “He’s gotten shout outs on local radio stations and lots of people have responded to Dennis through (social media site) Spotted in Victoria. The support from the community has been quite staggering, and it’s escalating rapidly.”
Many people have stopped to offer him a cold drink on a hot day or a hot chocolate on a cold day. Once, when it was raining hard, a West Shore RCMP member gave Monchamp an umbrella. Others have stopped to offer him a hat or a treat, or just to express kind words of encouragement.
A 2013 graduate from Belmont secondary, he has a simple explanation for all the fuss.
“I love to dance and I like to make people smile,” said Monchamp, who dreams of getting involved in theatre. “I took dance at Belmont and want to continue.” He plans to take some art and music courses in September, something he is “very excited” about.
Claude says Dennis, 20, has a knack for engaging people around him. In Vancouver for an AC/DC concert a few years ago, Dennis sat up at the front of the Sky Train car, facing the passengers.
“People tend to have tunnel vision and keep to themselves on the Sky Train,” Claude recalled. “It was Dennis’s first concert, and he had half the people there crowding around him carrying on conversations and sharing stories of their first concert.”
“AC/DC was great!” Dennis added.
Claude is glad his son is gaining valuable work experience and praised the efforts of the Garth Homer Society, which provides services and opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Dennis has always wanted to a performer,” Claude added. “I think he’s accomplished that.”
Claude’s only concern is that some people may get the wrong impression, especially when they see Dennis dancing his heart out in weather that’s less than ideal.
“People have stopped at Fido to complain about him working sometimes,” said Claude, who likened the situation to an ironic form of reverse discrimination. “The fact is, Dennis gets almost preferential treatment and can stop whenever he wants. He just loves doing what he does.”
Having the chance to listen to tunes at work, courtesy of the folks at Fido inspires him to add some new moves to his dance routine. He lists Bon Jovi, Nickelback and Ozzy Osbourne as some of his favourite artists.
Jeremie Davies, manager at the Millstream Fido location, said Monchamp was hired after he showed up with his mother one day looking for work.
“It’s not a fun job,” Davies said. “But it’s turned out to be a very worthwhile experience for everyone involved. We’ve had people drop off gifts for Dennis. People come in with positive comments about his dancing, or just to say how much Dennis brightens their day.”