Have you ever read the story about classical violinist Joshua Bell that went viral a few years ago?
If you haven’t, the Cole’s notes are as follows: big-time violinist appears incognito on a subway platform in Washington, two days after playing a sold-out show. In the 45-minutes he plays, only 6 people stop to enjoy (most notably, it is children who are most interested). He pockets $32. No applause.
The article concludes with what I consider to be a very poignant lesson:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
Today, as I passed through Union Station, a nicely dressed older man with sad eyes stood in the centre and played a beautiful melody. I won’t pretend to know whether it was Bach, Mozart or something he composed on his own, but I stopped to listen. And when he was done, I applauded and put $5 in his case. Which then prompted more people to put money in his case (monkey see; monkey do!).
Now, I’m going to wager that he wasn’t a famous musician taking part in a social experiment, but I can’t imagine how much courage and passion it takes to do what he does. (Also, I have a major soft spot for sad-looking little old men wearing cardigans with elbow patches.)
Act of Kindness: $5