Picture this, a violinist playing at a busy intersection for money and going completely unnoticed. Imagine this too, a guy sitting at a busy downtown street corner trying to raise money for prosthetic legs.
Having trouble? Let me paint these picture for you.
The first story comes from the washington post:
“It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work….”
Turns out that it was no ordinary violinist. It was actually Joshua Bell, one of the most famous violinists in the world. And on that Friday morning, standing on that busy rush hour corner, he earned himself $32.17. Check out the video if you don’t believe me.
The Second story is a little different. As far as I know, there were no hidden cameras and there were no famous musicians. Nope, this was not a test. This was the real deal.
While walking down the streets of Chicago, I noticed a man standing on a busy corner. He was in a wheel chair. He had no legs, and he looked determined to raise enough money to purchase himself a set of prosthetics.
I thought back to the Joshua Bell story and wanted to observe the situation. So I did. I sat at a distance drinking my coffee and watched. And sadly the results were exactly as they had been. The same as every Josh Bell story out there.
20 minutes must have gone by and I saw 4 people stop.
Two stories. Two main characters. The two of them different in many different ways but yet the same outcome.
Which begs the question. Why don’t we stop to drop in a few pennies? Is this deliberate or are we just not that aware of our surroundings?
When I was recruiting in NYC, very often while walking in grand central, or through midtown, I was focused on my blackberry, busy closing a deal, completely oblivious to my surroundings. Not that I didn’t care, I just didn’t notice.
And I am probably not alone.
There is probably the legitimacy factor at play too, but come on, we aren’t talking about $20 bucks. Its a nickle or dime.
Think about all the other things we miss because we’re too busy. Life can change in the blink of an eye and life is too short to rush by the small things in life. The world has proven this to us many times.
So take a step back once in a while. Make sure you don’t miss the sweet moments… And while your at it, reach into your pocket for a quarter and help out that guy on the corner who needs it.