'I did not want the student to miss out just because of trouble with making payments,' the owner of the music center explained.
Sometimes unexpected gestures of kindness from strangers are all one needs in times of great difficulty. This was the case for a struggling mother who did not have the financial means to pay for her son's rented trumpet. While organizing a hallway closet a few years ago, Jacques Ruffin came upon a letter sent to his mother and decided to share it on Reddit. The wholesome letter was written by James W Jones, who owns the Allegro Music Centre in Florida, back in 2009. In the letter, Jones empathized with the struggling mom's financial situation and informed her that she did not have to pay the rent for her son's trumpet anymore.
"I have decided to forgive the rent on Jacques' trumpet. You do not have to pay me anymore for the trumpet. It is yours to play," the kind store owner wrote in the letter, adding only one small condition: "However, if Jacques drops out of the band and stops playing the trumpet, will you return it to me so I can give it to some other deserving student."
Jones explained that he was doing it because he could understand the mom's struggles. "I have been through bad times like you. But remember Tough times never last, Tough people do. Maybe, you can help some other student someday when times are better," he wrote.
Speaking to BBC about the letter, Ruffin—who was 13 years old when his mom received the kind note—said: "I had no idea that my mother was struggling so much financially." He added that he feels "so grateful" toward Jones for giving him "the gift of music" which has "opened so many doors in my life."
"I really appreciate what he did. He is a hero in my eyes," Ruffin said. Meanwhile, Jones shared that he still recalls the reasons behind his decision to write off the parent's unpaid bills. "It was during an [economic] depression and the mother was ill and had lost her job. I did not want the student to miss out just because of trouble with making payments," he said.
Addressing social media users who were inspired by his message, Jones advised: "Go to your local music store, get a good, used instrument and donate it to a school." He added that his only goal was "to get instruments into the hands of kids who want to learn."
Ruffin's post spread across social media, getting over 201k upvotes on Reddit. One Redditor shared the response Allegro Music Centre posted on their website, which reads: "Thank you! Hello Everyone! I just wanted to take a quick moment to say thanks for the heartwarming outpouring response to a letter written in 2009 that found its way to Reddit recently. We have been overwhelmed with the positive response, it has been so encouraging and uplifting."
The heartwarming has since been reshared on Reddit's r/MadeMeSmile, where many users appreciated the store owner's kind heart, sharing their own experiences of meeting good Samaritans like him. u/123abcde321 commented, "People like that make me think the world will be okay. Hope he's still in business." u/KnifeFightAcademy commented, "'Tough times never last. Tough people do'... I needed that one."