A viral video of a homeless veteran smashes stereotypes and results in a well-deserved chance for a new life.
A 51-year-old former Marine sat down at one of Sarasota, Florida’s public pianos, and it ended up being the first day of a whole new life for him.
Donald Gould had been living on the streets of Sarasota for the past six or seven years. His wife died in 1998, and his life took a turn for the worse — with Gould ending up homeless and alone. He gave up his five-year-old son for adoption, and the young boy was raised by a family in Michigan.
The day Gould sat down at the piano, passers-by had no idea what was coming. When his fingers started flying over the keys — playing “Come Sail Away” by Styx — people stopped to pay attention.
What they didn’t realize was this man — whom many might have walked past without even noticing, if he’d been sitting on the sidewalk holding a sign asking for help — has tremendous musical talent. Gould “studied music theory in college and had to learn everything ‘from the piccolo all the way down to the tuba.'” But when the cost of a college education became too high, he dropped out. And never went back.
After the video of him was picked up by a local news station, social media went crazy. News about his life and his talent eventually ended up back at his former school, which offered Gould a scholarship worth more than $30,000.
“Offering him the scholarship was an easy decision … We have seen countless students and lives impacted by the transformational education we provide and know that Donald has a unique gift for music that he can use to change lives,” said Malachi Crane, vice president at Spring Arbor University in a statement to USA Today.
But the gifts didn’t end with the scholarship. A family friend saw the video of Gould playing and notified his son’s adoptive parents. The little boy Gould gave up for adoption is now a teenager, and the two have reunited.
Watch Gould’s sidewalk performance here:
Do you have an Act of Male Goodness to share? Or know someone who should be profiled in this series? Email Kristi Dale ([email protected]) with ‘100 Acts of Male Goodness’ in the subject line.
Photo: Donald Gould/Facebook