Unattended pianos in public places are magnetic. Whether it’s an artistically painted piano sitting on a city sidewalk, a standard upright at a school or a grand in a ritzy hotel, the instrument calls to people.
In many cases, the people drawn to the keys sadly have little skill, but occasionally someone who clearly knows what they’re doing will show up and answer the siren song of the waiting piano.
On Saturday, July 11, it was a small model waiting patiently for a new owner at “ReMARKable Cleanouts,” an antique store and auction house in Norwood, Massachusetts, that grabbed the attention of a young man.
John Thomas Archer, a 23-year-old self-taught musician and graphic design student at Northeastern University, asked permission to play. Permission was granted, and he sat down and charmed the other customers with a classic.
“Young man asked permission to play and I asked permission to post the video,” ReMARKable Cleanouts posted on its Facebook page on July 11. “It’s a great day here at the mill! Come on down!”
Archer chose Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” a crowd-pleaser based on the comments that came in after the video was posted.
“I saw the clip and said, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic,'” Mark Waters, the owner of the store, told “Good Morning America.”
“He just lit up and drew a crowd.”
When the video made the rounds, two questions were repeated: Who was this young man, and could people donate money so that he could have the piano?
As it turned out, employees hadn’t gotten Archer’s name, so they didn’t know how to inform him of the generous offer that was building.
“Unfortunately it was very busy and I was unable to even get this young mans name,” the store commented. “Hopefully he’ll see this. He knows I posted it here so maybe he’ll look!”
“No updates on our piano mystery man but we’ll definitely let you all know if we hear anything!!!” the store gave in a comment update. “Thanks everyone! Happy Sunday!”
Waters was ready to donate a Steinway to Archer if he came back and could confirm he had a place to put one. A few days later, Archer reconnected with the store, and magic was born.
“He went into tears and it brought tears to my eyes,” Waters said of Archer’s response to his offer. “It was one of those feel-good moments.”
“I just wish there was more stories like this with everyone opening their hearts. I’d like to donate something every day if it brought people into a good mood.”
Continuing the kindness, Deathwish Piano Movers offered to get the Steinway to Archer, according to a post by ReMARKable Cleanouts. Piano Realm also offered free tuning once the piano is delivered.
What started as a simple, polite request has resulted in an avalanche of kindness. What started as a small, local event has warmed the hearts of hundreds.
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