“When we pay forward, the idea multiplies to more and more people, touching their lives directly or indirectly.”
— Catherine Ryan Hyde, Pay It Forward
David Archuleta’s gentle kindness, support to charities and soulful caring, reminds us of the capabilities of our own kindness, which in turn can affect everyone on the planet. When I first started learning of David’s charity work and kind gestures to fans and others, it brought to mind a book called Pay It Forward.
It was written after the author experienced a traumatic night in a secluded spot, where mechanical trouble brought her late model car to a stop, leaving her stranded and scared. Two people came running towards her waving a blanket and she thought they were going to cause her harm. When they reached her, she saw they were running to put out the flames from underneath the hood of her car – a gesture that likely saved her life.
She was overwhelmed by the kindness of the passersby and this feeling of gratitude inspired her to return the kindness any way she could. She began to realize that even small acts of kindness can have a great affect on people, and when we “pay them forward,” the idea multiplies to more and more people, touching their lives either directly or indirectly.
Reading that book took me back to cherished stories about my grandfather — of how he once gave away his paycheque to a homeless family on the street just before Christmas. He then came home from his job to his family of eight without a penny. He told us more than once about how much trouble he got into with my grandmother that Christmas. Sometimes giving costs dearly, but it was imprinted in our memories to care about other people.
These stories must have stuck with me more than I realized. For, I hadn’t planned to “pay it forward” with concert tickets, but when illness prevented me from using my tickets to Virginia Beach to see David at his first ever solo tour concert, it felt like the right thing to do. I contacted a David admirer with the screen name of Kizzi, knowing that she would be attending his first concert. And this is where my ticket gifting began. I wrote back and forth with Kizzi and communicated by fax and phone until we had the Box A, seats 1&2 tickets in the hands of two girls Kizzi had met outside the venue. The girls were absolutely thrilled.
The art of VIP gifting
For the September Manchester concert, I happened to have an extra VIP ticket with me. I was standing in line with my David friends when a young mother came up to our line and stated that it was really early to be in line. When she heard that it was the VIP line she excitedly said that she had never met David and would love to do so. Well, that was it, my VIP was in the process of being gifted right there in line. She shook with excitement and disbelief.
Just minutes after we entered the VIP room, my name was drawn to ask David a question. Everyone said, wow, the gift that keeps on giving. I enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to speak with David and he sang for me “Ave” from Ave Maria, before Ray interrupted him, but David continued our conversation. This was even before the Christmas tour, so to hear anything from Ave Maria made me happy.
Salt Lake City spirit
If you could put all of David’s concerts together, you would create the first awesome, Christmas From the Heart concert at Abravenal Hall. Several days before the concert, I was contacted by an administrator from SnowAngelz to ask if I might like to gift my extra VIP to a young lady who was the second winner in a contest at Snarky Archies, (open to fans who had been inspired by, but had never met, David).
Arrangements were made to meet the young lady at Abravanel Hall and it was there that I met her with her mother and younger sister. We had a wonderful time together at a lovely VIP. I thoroughly enjoyed her company as we bridged the gap of many years between us by sharing our passion for David’s beautiful voice and stage presence. The next evening she left her family to sit with me, as I was alone and had an empty seat beside me. We sat close to some very special people in David’s life.
I have one last gifting story that did not cost a penny and I love it. On my way home from Salt Lake City, we changed planes in Chicago and could not go on further to Halifax. We were rerouted to Ottawa for the night. A lady sat down next to me on the plane. She had been with a friend shopping in Las Vegas. The lady asked about my trip and upon hearing that I was at a concert, she mentioned her family’s involvement in choirs in Ottawa and made mention of her musical interests, extended education and favourite opera singers.
After we talked, I put my iPod earbuds in place and settled in for a few, uninterrupted hours of private time with music and SLC memories. As we were landing, the woman passed her serviette to me with a pen and asked me to write the name of the young man who she could hear on my iPod. She also wanted me to write a few of the Christmas songs on the serviette so that she could go right away to YouTube.
My inspiration for ticket gifting and reaching out to those around us has been renewed by David and from the good people who keep in his company. Each time that I hear David sing, it is a gift to me and to everyone. In turn, we tell people who we meet on the street, people we sit next to on airplanes, taxi drivers, and people on elevators just how enjoyable and inspirational David is. Then they, in turn, tell people and the joys of David’s music continue to be shared … to be paid and repaid forward.
Best wishes to David on his 19th birthday, and to all of you for a peaceful, healthful, music-filled New Year!