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Angels Among Us: The Man on the Street

What happened next was like a Susan Boyle moment.  He stood there, closed his eyes  and out came a phenomenal, huge, gutsy, bluesy, soulful voice that rocked us to the core. We stood stunned and mesmerized. Not only was his voice incredible, his performance was so purely emotional, raw and gut wrenching it seemed to pull us into his universe. Crowds started gathering, unable to walk away from this huge voice coming from the scraggly street guy.

When he finished there was a stunned silence. I don’t think anyone could register the mind-blowing performance they had just heard  on the street. He opened his eyes and looked totally surprised at the crowd that had gathered.  He sheepishly offered his hat and was rewarded for his efforts.

I stayed, feeling strongly that I wanted to let him know how much his singing had moved me.

I asked his name and  how he had come to have such an incredible voice. His name was Matthew, he said, he  had been the lead singer of his church gospel choir a long time ago. His demeanor now was completely different; the slick street guy transformed into someone rather shy and sweet. He seemed a little taken back that we were interested in finding out about him and his life.

He seemed intent on communicating that he had had a life before, had been somebody from somewhere, but it slipped away and his life had derailed somewhere along the way. He seemed perplexed as to how he had come to where he was now.

I told him that I was also a singer and had heard many great voices, but his was extraordinary, he had a rare gift and I hoped that he would keep on singing. I said it was ironic that no one in the four-hour overblown opera I had just heard moved me even a fraction the way his singing had. I had come to the opera to be inspired and I found it in him.

After a long pause he softly said maybe he would go back, join his church again, sing again.  There seemed to be a sense of possibility in his eyes as we took our leave. I thanked him again, shook his hand and told him that hearing him sing had truly been the highlight of my evening. I hoped he would use his considerable gift and go on to bring joy to many people.

The encounter was very brief, maybe twenty minutes, but I have never forgotten it. How he seemed to transform into a completely different person just by being acknowledged and seen.

It never ceases to amaze me how magic can happen when I go with my gut and against the comfortable voice of reason. Had I done what I was inclined to do and avoided this uncomfortable situation, I would have missed the great gift of this sweet man with the angelic voice.

Joshua Bel, one of our greatest violinists who commands many thousands of dollars per performance took his 3.5 million dollar  Stradivarius to the D.C subway, pretending to be a street musician. Most of the people scurried by on their way to their busy lives,  never even noticing the genius in their midst. He received $32. Only the children stubbornly wanted to listen, as their mothers pulled them away.

(See Joshua Bel’s performance on You Tube playing in the subway)

No One Listened to one of the Greatest World Violinists in the D.C Subway

Please share with us your stories of random acts of kindness that moved you. Please send your longer angel stories to:

More Inspirational Stories by Erica Sofrina:

The Kitten

The Story of Maria

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Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is an Internationally recognized Speaker and Teacher and Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She has run a successful business as a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Consultant for over a decade and resides on the charming coastal town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Find out more at

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8:05AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

I know this is supposed to be a heart-warming story, but it actually made me feel bad for not acting like the author more often in similar situations.

5:51PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

I've been re-reading many of your stories in this series - Angels Among Us. What a joy they are, very uplifting. I love the line in this story: "How he seemed to transform into a completely different person just by being acknowledged and seen." I think of this often since I read the story a while back. Such a simple thing to acknowledge someone. Thanks again.

12:46PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

A heartwarming story ! What a pity that the majority of us don't take more time to stand and listen.

11:12AM PST on Jan 13, 2013

This is such a wonderful world we live in.

3:20PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

Never close your eyes to the bigger pictures inside the little pictures inside the "big" pictures.

9:53PM PST on Dec 29, 2012

Okay honestly I read this because the cat is sleeping on me and I couldn't get up .
However.. I was totally touched & moved by this post , Thank you so very much .

9:58AM PST on Dec 28, 2012

Awesome story and a real "wake up call" to everyone of us who reads it. A friend of mine use to be an EKG tecn in a hospital - if the nurses were really busy and someone needed a bedpan, she would get it for them and let the nurses know. One night a nurse said, "WHY do you do that? It's not YOUR job..." Her response was, "Who is to say I'm not treating the body of Christ?" They stopped commenting about her help after that!

9:26AM PST on Dec 28, 2012

unfortuantely, matthew's story isn't rare. there are so many people that circumstances have made homeless or jobless. while there are certainly some that are "slick", can you imagine asking/begging people to give you money? my husband thinks i'm gullible but i can't imagine being in any situation where you would feel comfortable asking for help from strangers.

7:41PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

I feel if he had just sang and not tried to pull people in, sang from his heart with this amazing voice people would be drawn to him and he would receive a fee for his wonderful ability. Lets hope he continues to release his gift for others to enjoy and appreciate.It is sad when people lose their way but hopefully they will find their way back and be even stronger for the experience. Something good coming out of the bad. Good on you for persevering and giving him the opportunity to shine. He sounds like a rough diamond that is just waiting to shine a lot more.

3:31AM PST on Dec 22, 2012

this is a beautiful example ,that we need to stop at whatever we are so busy with (running ,rushing all the time ) and enjoy what is offered to us ,what is to be discovered ,the other ,the different ..

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