So I had a slightly unexpected gig this afternoon…
Rosie, the mother of Ruby (one of my young pupils) sent me an email a few days ago to see if, on the offchance that I was about, I would be free to come and sing a few songs for their middle daughter’s birthday. Her name is Anila, she is autistic, with learning difficulties, and she is 5 today. Apparently while Ruby was trawling online to see if she had a mildly famous piano teacher, they came across some of my YouTube footage, and, unlikely though it may seem, Anila became a massive fan of mine. It’s not the sort of gig which I usually do, and it would have been so easy to turn down, after all, I have no intention of becoming a children’s entertainer. However, I thought it would be a nice thing to do, and I accepted. I’m so glad I did.
Anila is just delightful. Tall for her age, she has eyes which stare into your soul, and she kept looking at me with a slight smile, occasionally breaking into a big grin and running back and forth across the kitchen. She had to adjust to the fact that I wasn’t inside her mum’s iPhone, and kept looking at it, then back at me, to check I was still there. She came and played the piano with me as I sang Michael Buble, Elton John, Queen, Billy Joel and Labi Siffre to her. She danced a bit, and when I stopped for a break she simply came over, took my hand and placed it back on the piano with a little smile. She, and her adorable family, have been the most appreciative audience I have had for a long time, perhaps ever. I quite simply found myself welling up at several points, and actually struggled to get certain song lines out without dissolving into a heap.
This lovely little girl completely made my day through allowing me to make hers. It also made me realise that we can so easily miss out on experiences that could be quite special – sometimes it’s worth taking a moment to look at what we can give to someone else, rather than what they can give to us. My BNI colleagues will be familiar with the concept of Giver’s Gain – I have to say that today’s experience was a case in point. Anyone who has read Danny Wallace’s “Join Me” will remember that eventually the joinees decided to make Friday the day for doing random good deeds for people. And the concept of “Pay It Forward” has been around since around 300BC (“Dyskolos” by Menander – go on, Google it!), and not, as some think, since the novel and film of the same title in 2000. So go on, have a think… Can you impact on someone else’s day and make it special? Will you? Go on, I dare you to do so…!