LANGFORD, B.C. –
As Travis Stock approaches the random building and notices a water tap attached to its wall, he couldn’t be more curious.
“Is there going to be majestic flow?” the 35-year-old wonders. “Is it not going to work at all?”
To appreciate Travis’ excitement, we need to go back to when he was a shy child and didn’t feel comfortable posing for his school picture.
“The photographer kept saying, ‘Look up! Look up!’” Travis recalls, before revealing a picture of himself as a boy with a strained smile on his face. “That’s the face I gave when I looked up.”
Travis wasn’t used to being the centre of attention yet, unlike his big sister.
“She was the Lake Cowichan penny drive girl,” Travis smiles proudly, while looking through old newspaper profiles of her.
Nichole Stock made headlines for inspiring donations of countless thousands of dollars worth of pennies each year to support a sick kids charity, before dying from complications during heart surgery when Travis was 11.
“She was wonderful,” Travis says, fighting back tears. “She was my best friend.”
Travis says he never really dealt with the trauma until decades later, when the pandemic caused his work in the film industry to stop suddenly, and his mental health to start declining.
“I was in a dark place,” Travis says. “It was crippling.”
Until one day, Travis found the strength to reach out for help and begin a long journey towards feeling happier and healthier, which has included being mindful of each moment.
He started noticing small things during his daily walks he hadn’t before.
“I kind of had a curiosity one day about [public accessible water taps] and I had my phone with me,” Travis recalls. “And I’m like, ‘I wonder if these things actually work.’”
So he answered that question on camera, and recorded a video of turning on the tap, while playing a comic character he’d created on social media, named Spooky Sivart.
“He’s silly,” Travis smiles. “And easy going.”
He also has a catchphrase, which concludes with his leg kicking in the air.
“Yeah dog!” Travis says in character. “This is nice!”
Travis started posted his tap-testing to social media, along with other short comedy videos, and was surprised by the positive reception.
Over the past two years, Travis has created more than 600 Spooky Sivart videos on TikTok, earning more than 1.4 million followers and over 27 million views on his most popular videos.
“People say they love the weirdness,” Travis smiles. “And the dry humour. No pun intended.”
And Travis is grateful to have grown up from a shy boy to a fearless man — who was inspired by his big sister to overcome adversity through giving back — by finding a creative way to spread joy and positivity.
“Don’t give up on life. Don’t give up on your hopes,” Travis says. “The world can be a dark place, but you can get through anything if you put your mind to it.”