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Only One Woman Recognized Famous Violinist

There’s a well-known story about a famous violinist who took his $3.5 million Stradivarius onto a platform of a Washington DC subway and started playing music. He was dressed in a T-shirt and a ball cap. Joshua Bell was accustomed to playing for packed concert halls and getting paid $1,000 a minute. During his 43-minute solo concert in the subway a total of 1097 people passed by. But only seven people stopped to listen. He earned $32 in change.

J.T. Tillman, a computer specialist, was one of the people who walked by. He said, “I didn’t think nothing of it, just a guy trying to make a couple of bucks.” Tillman would’ve given him some cash, but he spent all his money on the lotto. When he was told that he stiffed one of the best musicians in the world, he asked, “Is he ever going to play around here again?” The reporter said, “Yeah, but you’re going to have to pay a lot to hear him.”

Exactly one person recognized Joshua Bell. Her name was Stacy. She positioned herself 10 feet away from Bell, front row, center. She had a huge grin on her face. She said, “It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen in Washington. Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush-hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some more flipping quarters at him! Quarters! I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?’”

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