Recently my nine-year-old son Rowan, a beginner violist, attempted to tune his instrument before performing a Christmas “concert” for his grandparents. After an hour of fruitless fiddling and many frustrated tears, Rowan finally allowed my dad to call a local music shop for help. They found someone willing to squeeze them in that afternoon.
Two hours later Rowan burst through the front door with a tuned viola. “The guy even did it for free!” he exclaimed, as he rosined the bow and prepared to play.
Later I learned that the music store employee had refused to accept payment for the tuning, but my dad had handed him a ten-dollar bill anyway, “just to say thanks.” The employee had gone out of his way, my dad pointed out, and had been generous with his time just two days before Christmas, on undoubtedly one of his busiest days of the year.