True - A Most Interesting Story

"Old Man and The City" by burningmonk (Lukasz Kazimierz) [CC BY-NC-ND]

A Most Interesting Story
from [Here on Snopes]

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

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?

To Continue: Now, go back to the photo at the top. Obviously, this is NOT Joshua Bell. After reading this entry, do you think this man is really homeless, or is this photo created to make it look like he is homeless? Go look and come back. And also, no matter what your answer is, does the man in the photo look like he would stand out anywhere (with the homeless or anywhere), or that he would blend in with "the crowd"? In Tokyo, with more than 13 million people, you would not believe how many people know the homeless man in the photo above. His name is Hatori-san. The word "small" just doesn’t apply to Tokyo, but if you're in downtown, your odds of finding Hatori-san are surprisingly high. In fact, it's likely that he'll find you.. . and he's honest about what he's gonna buy with the change that you give him. He's one of the few legendary figures who still lives on the streets of this world. You can spare a few yen for a smile. And today's song of the day is with Hatori-san, who appears in the official music video for Rhian Sheehan's "Standing in Silence Pt. 4".