Anonymous student hacks traffic sign

Elana Zeltser

Driving down Mulholland to school every day is second nature to those who take the route. The winds in the road are anticipated, the traffic patterns practically memorized. But on March 7 parents, students and faculty encountered something unexpected. Rather than flashing the usual updates on Coldwater Canyon closures, a construction sign on the side of the road read: “World peace 4 Justin” quickly flashing to the message “”Make someone smile today.”

This was not a message left for the Harvard-Westlake community by the Department of Water and Power. Rather, the administrator of the Facebook group HW Compliments woke up a little earlier than usual and decided to spend his extra time spreading Justin Carr’s ’14 message.

“A while back I’d seen pictures online about people hacking electronic signs,” said the person who wishes to remain anonymous. “The thought of hacking a sign was swirling around in my head for a while. I thought of Justin and that idea just popped into my head.”

At 7:20 a.m., HW Compliments turned the blank, black screen into a memorial.

“I read the user’s manual (quite long actually) and figured out the password and fiddled around until I activated those messages,” HW Compliments said.

This gesture did not go unnoticed, as people began discussing it when they arrived on campus.

“I went to school and a friend who didn’t know that it was me told me about a sign that someone hacked and put an awesome message on,” HW Compliments said. “That was me! It was a pretty awesome feeling actually, doing things for others, even if it’s in a super small and trivial way.”

Later that day, Seana Moon White ’13 posted about it on Facebook.

“Thank you for making me smile today,” Moon White said. “I’ll do my best to make someone else smile today, too.”