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A Celebrity Saves a Seat for a Nobody

Have you ever been to a rock concert? Or any big event where it was tough to get a ticket? Then no matter what your age you'll be able to identify with author Gordon MacDonald's description of an event from way back in the mid 1900s with some of the "phenoms" of the time. The famous people were the leaders of the Billy Graham crusade. One of them, Cliff Barrows, was the songleader of the meetings. Gordon MacDonald relates here how he first met Barrows:

My first experience with Cliff Barrows—[who was Billy Graham's] music director and crusade coordinator—came when I was just 16-years-old, a student at a New York boarding school. It was 1957, the year of Billy Graham's historic, four-month crusade at Madison Square Garden. On one of those days, a schoolmate of mine and I took the train into the city, found the "Garden," and sneaked in a side door. It was midday and the arena was empty except for one solitary figure sitting on the edge of the stage shuffling papers. It was Cliff Barrows.
When he saw my friend and me, he put his papers aside and swiftly walked in our direction. "I'm Cliff," he said when he reached us. "Welcome to the Garden. Where are you from?" We told him we had come to the city hoping to be part of the event that night. I shall not forget his response.
"Well, let's see how we can make that happen." He took us to the stage where there were three or four rows of chairs right behind the podium. Barrows pointed to those seats. "Where do you think you'd like to sit, second or third row?" We were astonished! And when we realized he was serious, we pointed to two seats in the second row. He immediately took paper and wrote, "Reserved for Gordon MacDonald." Doing the same for my friend, he placed the papers on the seats we had chosen.
"Now let's find a way to get you back into the Garden tonight," he said. Taking us to a small office outside the arena area, he spoke to a security guard. "These two young men need passes for the side door. Please make that happen." And the man did.
When Barrows left us in the following moments, he said, "Now, boys, pray for Mr. Graham tonight while he preaches. That's why I've got you up there." And we did. I think I grew a foot taller and several years older that day, thanks to Cliff Barrows.

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