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We heard drums being played from behind the building. We walked around back and saw him jamming under a shady tree, laying down latin grooves to Carlos Santana.
Last week, I got a visit from a friend who wanted to donate a drum set. He had been teaching an adult student, who unexpectedly and suddenly passed away. The son of this student gifted the set to my friend, in hopes it would continue to make music beyond his fathers passing.
This week, I took Quincy out for ice cream after work. Soon after, this guy sat down and started playing drums along to “Thriller” which was blasting out of his boombox. Even with makeshift metal sticks and a picnic table as his drum set, I knew he could feel the groove.
I’d seen him many times before. He’s a fixture in the center of our town. Always outside, always listening to music on old school headphones, always singing to himself or playing drums, sometimes on a 5 gallon bucket next to the road.
He’s the type of guy most people in a small blue collar town are wary of. They cross the street and avoid eye contact so they don’t have to engage.
Instead, I walked over, shook his hand and asked about his music. He told me his name was Aaron and he’s been playing drums since age 3. His biggest love is music, but his job at the local dollar store didn’t leave him enough money for a drum set.
I asked him if he wanted one. Free of charge, no strings attached. I gave him my cell # and told him to text me if he needed any help getting started.
10 minutes later, my phone vibrated and Aaron said he wanted the drum kit. Quincy and I loaded it in the car and delivered it to his apartment complex. We helped him set it up and met one of the staff members who runs the facility where he lives. She said it was the nicest thing anyone could have done for him.
Yesterday, Lisa and I walked to the Post Office, passing the street where Aaron lives. We heard drums being played from behind the building. We walked around back and saw him jamming under a shady tree, laying down latin grooves to Carlos Santana.
As soon as he saw us, he started smiling ear to ear. Lisa and I were too. Hearing the discarded drums being brought to life was nothing short of magical.
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.
Huge thanks to drummer extraordinaire Mike Levesque for the kit, Sean for the connection and Paul for the tech support.
Sincere appreciation to everyone who has ever supported Rawkstars. My life has been forever changed by the human experiences made possible by your generosity.
— JJ, Rawkstars Founder & Executive Director