This afternoon, dozens of 16th Street Mall walkers had this experience: You're walking along, sipping on a Frappucino and poking at your iPhone, trying to look busy and important enough so the panhandlers won't bother you but unable to suppress a smile because of the gorgeous sun and the fact that you've stretched your lunch hour to an hour and a half.
Then a lady in a poofy black-and-yellow dress, striped high heels and giant gold sunglasses pops out in front of you. "Do you want to tell the Queen Bee what makes you happy?" she asks.
Most people did not. Those who did gave the following answers: My job. Money. Laughing. The beautiful weather. The Denver Nuggets. Sex. Pot. "Okay," the bee said. "Not appropriate."
The Queen Bee was Kim Corrigan, general manager of The Curtis hotel at 1405 Curtis Street, where there are cartoons playing in the lobby and the employees have wacky job titles. She and her helper bees -- none of whom were in costume -- took to the mall today to pimp their new video contest, "Stay Happy at The Curtis." The gist: Make a two-minute video about what makes you happy and you could win one of five faaaaabulous Denver vacations.
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The prizes are pretty sweet, and all of them include four round-trip plane tickets from anywhere in the country to Denver. One vacation comes with a $1,000 shopping spree at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Another includes four tickets to any show at Red Rocks. The winners will also get to stay at The Curtis and eat at "Denver's hottest local dining spots."
Still, it was tough to get this afternoon's mall-walkers enthused about the deal. Most completely avoided the Queen Bee or just politely smiled and picked up their pace. Couldn't she see that they were busy enjoying their chilly beverages and messing with their apps?
But the bee wasn't deterred. "People are looking for some happy news," she said to the hotel camerawoman who was filming the endeavor. To prove it, Corrigan will return to the street tomorrow and Friday, armed with more Tootsie Rolls and business cards, determined to squeeze the happy out of passersby.
If today was any indication, however, she may have some competition -- and not just from accordian-playing buskers. Also trolling the mall today? A giant sun and his helper, who was giving out cards redeemable for one free tan at Zolarium Tanning Studio at 1529 Market Street.