Bob to hit the big screen

Security guard’s acts of kindness to be featured in Hershey’s commercial after chocolate company discovered his story by finding Shield feature profile on him online

Members+of+the+Hershey+production+crew%2C+intern+Tuana+Allen+and+man-of-the-moment+Bob+Bedard+watch+the+sequence+filmed+during+eighth+period+on+Thursday.+The+clip+shows+Bedard+standing+still+in+the+main+hallway+as+the+traffic+rushes+behind+him+as+if+they+are+apparitions.+%0A%0A

Members of the Hershey production crew, intern Tuana Allen and man-of-the-moment Bob Bedard watch the sequence filmed during eighth period on Thursday. The clip shows Bedard standing still in the main hallway as the traffic rushes behind him as if they are apparitions.

Life—the famous line from Forrest Gump goes—is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. That may be true in the movies and in a lot of places in real life, but it’s not true in McCallum’s hallways.

At least not when Officer Bob Bedard is around.

With Bedard, life is still a bowl of chocolates, but Mac students know exactly what they are going to get: an act of kindness and a Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss.

Bedard, who always has a supply of the Hershey Company’s signature sweet, hands them to passersby with considerate abandon.

His penchant for kindness and dispensing Hershey’s Kisses was chronicled last February in a feature profile of the affable security guard written by current Shield editors Sophie Leung-Lieu and Naomi Di-Capua.

Nearly seven months after the publication of “Bob Bedard’s little acts of kindness made a big impact,” the Hershey Company contacted Bedard with an interest in filming a commercial at McCallum.

We saw Bob’s story, and we immediately knew we had to come to Texas, to McCallum to meet him and the students.”

— Hershey company head of earned media and storytelling Anna Lingeris

They had seen and read the article, and they wanted to feature him in a commercial.

After scouring the internet in search of stories, The Hershey Company discovered the article on The Shield Online, singling out Bedard’s beneficent use of the Hershey’s Kiss.

The Hershey company head of earned media and storytelling Anna Lingeris was one of the Hershey’s employees that first laid eyes on the article. Lingeris works with journalists and the press, also bringing real happenings to life in advertisements.

“Part of what we’re doing is canvassing America to find stories about real people that use our Hershey’s bar as a connection,” Lingeris said. “We saw Bob’s story, and we immediately knew we had to come to Texas, to McCallum, to meet him and the students.”

Lingeris and freelance director Carrie Stett have traveled to Missouri, Indiana and other states filming commercials about similar acts of kindness.

“Any time there is something positive going on, I like to tell the story,” Stett said. “I take the idea, see what the film is, and think about how I can turn that into an interesting video.”

Director Carrie Stett interviews Bob Bedard for a segment of the Hershey commerical. (Sophie Leung-Lieu )

The short film featuring Bedard will be published as part of a series of real, genuine stories about positivity that are connected to Hershey’s chocolate.

“When they told me about their larger vision and the different commercials they are filming, I thought it was really nice that Hershey’s is trying to find really good things that are being done around the country,” Bedard said.

In the commercial, Hershey and Bedard planned to portray the sweetness of not only the product, but the act.

“What they want is a feel-good story about someone doing something nice with their chocolate product,” Bedard said. “That’s why they chose us in the first place because the nature of the article that was written last year was heartwarming.”

When they told me about their larger vision and the different commercials they are filming, I thought it was really nice that Hershey’s is trying to find really good things that are being done around the country. ”

— Bob Bedard

Although Bedard was ecstatic at the idea of advertising his signature candy and the concept of random acts of kindness, he knew that making a commercial happen on the McCallum campus wouldn’t be simple. Not only did Bedard need approval from the district, Principal Nicole Griffith and the police department, but he would have to remain in communication with the Hershey Company to start planning for filming and production.

Principal Griffith felt a sense of pride when discovering the news.

“Bob is a great person to have on our staff who really cares about connecting and building relationships with kids,” Griffith said. “I was also very proud that it came from a MacJ article.”
As the news of the commercial was first confirmed, Bedard also treasured the reactions of the students with whom he so often shares chocolate.

“Everyone that I have told has been like ‘Oh my God! I want to be in it, I want to do it!’” Bedard said. “The whole thing is fun for the students. I appreciate it, but I don’t need it.”

Hershey filmed the commercial in the school’s hallways and cafeteria on Thursday and captured the essence of Bob’s daily candy handouts. The company provided a free shipment of up to 4,000 full-sized chocolate bars for Bedard to pass out, upgrading from his classic chocolate Kisses.

Shield design & visuals editor Sophie Leung-Lieu wrote the original Bob Bedard profile last school year along with Shield sports and social media managing editor Naomi Di-Capua. Both journalists were interviewed for individual segments of the commercial. (Dave Winter)

“We want to chronicle what he does every day,” Lingeris said. “We want to show why the students look up to him, why Bob does what he does and how he connects with people.”

Before the commercial shoot, Stett and Bedard spent a day together, following Bedard’s daily schedule and a round of handing out Kisses.

“I want to start a story that brings people into his world,” Stett said. “We had a whole crew in here to show the positive side of life.”

Bedard participated in the commercial with students, hoping that they took the experience as a cheerful memory from their time walking McCallum’s halls.

“I’m really happy about what this has done for the kids,” Bedard said. “I’ve had a ton of accolades. I don’t need one more.”

Last year, when I needed a break, I would walk in the hallways, and Bob and I would talk. We’ve been friends ever since.”

— senior Camille Wilson

On the filming day, Bedard was successfully able to bring smiles to many Knights, as many classes were paused to play extras in the commercial. In addition to Leung-Lieu and Di-Capua, Bedard also selected students with whom he has created special relationships to be interviewed for the commercial.

Senior Camille Wilson was one of the students Bedard selected to be interviewed.

“Last year, when I needed a break, I would walk in the hallways, and Bob and I would talk,” Wilson said. “We’ve been friends ever since.”

Wilson was featured in the original Shield article, and was asked by Bedard to be featured in the commercial.

“When he found out, he pulled me from one of my classes,” Wilson said. “He told me the news and said he wanted me to be a part of it.”

The film crew shot footage of Wilson and Bedard talking as they walked down the hallways, and they filmed an individual interview with Wilson.

“He’s really inclusive and gets to know everyone on such a personal level,” Wilson said. “I know this made him feel appreciated, and he deserves it.”

Alongside commercial director Carrie Stett, officer Bob Bedard hands out his signature Hershey’s Kisses to senior Olivia Escalante (off camera) and talks with senior Camile Wilson on Thursday Nov. 10, Stett observed Bedard throughout his day to gather ideas for the commercial she will direct for the Hershey Company. (Caroline Owen )

In addition to the students featured in the commercial, the professional film crew invited to students from the AV program to serve as interns during the filming of the commercial. AV teacher Ken Rogers appointed junior Tuana Allen and senior Ariana Mendez to assist the film crew for the day.

“My favorite part of helping film the commercial was seeing how touched Mr. Bob was when watching student interviews,” Mendez said.

The opportunity was special for Allen and Mendez, as they were able to experience the intricacies of filming a commercial for a multinational company.

“My internship duties consisted of helping the producer and the director gather talent releases, help block and direct actors and help with audio quality.” Allen said. “I was even interviewed by Hershey themselves.”

My favorite part of helping film the commercial was seeing how touched Mr. Bob was when watching student interviews.”

— cinematic arts student Ariana Mendez, who served as one of two interns during the Hershey shoot

Days before the shoot, Bedard hoped that the shipment of full-sized candy bars would be sufficient to hand out to students on a special day.

“I’ll be swarmed, I’m sure,” Bedard said before the big day arrived.

On the actual day of the shoot, the bars were ubiquitous. They could be seen all across campus. At day’s end virtually every trash can on campus was filled with Hershey bar wrappers and empty candy bar boxes.

Speaking of wrappers, as director Stett called the shoot a wrap, the Hershey production crew ended the filming day with a celebration of Bedard’s success.
“Bob’s a star,” Lingeris said.

Many students involved with the film had to undergo the process of a permission form, cooperating with the producers and representing the school with respect.

“It’s been a wonderful experience here at McCallum,” Lingeris said. “The students, the faculty, everyone on campus has been willing to help, I can really see the warmth from everybody.”

The Hershey Company finished shooting at McCallum, now taking on the next step of editing the film. We will know more about the final commercial sometime in 2023.