On his way to the park, Paul stumbled upon his violin teacher, Mrs. Mills, but she was disoriented and lost. Luckily, he knew the way to her house and took her to safety. But later that day, a man came to his door with a huge check, and the young teen couldn’t believe it.
Paul walked to the park almost every day after school and played the violin for several hours. He usually placed his violin case on the floor just in case any passersby offered him some change. Most people probably thought he was doing it for the money, but he wasn’t.
The park was the only place where Paul could practice outside his violin class. Paul’s father, Mr. Lawson, hated that his son wasted his time on the instrument. He was a strict businessman and didn’t respect anyone who entered into the arts. However, his wife, Mrs. Lawson, had convinced him to enroll Paul in violin classes because it would look good in his college application. That was the only reason his father agreed.
Paul always played his violin at the park. | Source: Shutterstock
Mr. Lawson wanted Paul to get into the University of Boston, his alma mater. But even the older man knew that it had become pretty hard for anyone, even children of alumni, to get in. So violin lessons were added to Paul’s resume.
“But this is just a hobby, boy. You will go to business school!” Mr. Lawson warned him the day they bought the instrument.
At first, Paul accepted his father’s demands, but after only a few lessons, he fell in love and knew that he wanted to become a concert violinist. He dreamed of becoming part of the Boston Philharmonic one day.
His teacher, Mrs. Vaughn, told him he had a gift. She encouraged him to play as much as possible, and one day, his dream would come true.
However, his father didn’t allow him to practice at home, so the teen started doing it at the park. Those were the best days. He became a performer and not just a student at the park. The crowd cheered for him, and it was an intoxicating feeling. Furthermore, people started leaving him their spare change whenever he finished a song.
It felt exhilarating to earn money from violin, even if it wasn’t in a professional setting. Paul started saving his money and bought a lovely bracelet for his mother. “Where did you get the money for that, boy?” Mr. Lawson asked with his permanent frown.
Paul lied to his father about working at a pizza place. | Source: Pexels
“I’ve been working at the pizza joint after school or later if I have violin class. I wash dishes and sometimes deliver pizzas if it’s not too far away,” Paul explained to his father.
Mr. Lawson humphed but nodded. “Good. Good. It’s important to learn everything about being at the bottom before starting your own business someday. Keep it up,” he said, sounding proud of his son. After that, he never questioned what Paul was doing after school, thinking he was out working.
But one day changed his life forever. “Mrs. Vaughn? What are you doing here?” Paul asked his violin teacher after spotting her wandering around the park. Medal of Honor Park was a few blocks away from her house, where he took violin lessons.
He didn’t have her class that day, but it was still nice to see his teacher outside. Maybe she could check him out there performing. But the older woman turned around and looked at him intently. “Who are you?” she asked, placing one finger on her temple and blinking at him.
Mrs. Vaughn looked disoriented and didn’t recognize Paul. | Source: Pexels
Paul was taken aback. It had been months since Mrs. Vaughan started giving him private violin lessons. How could she forget me? he wondered, but then the teen realized that the older woman was disoriented.
“I’m Paul, Mrs. Vaughan. I’m your violin student. Do you remember me?”
“Ah, yes, Paul. Of course. You’re going to be in the philharmonic soon,” Mrs. Vaughn replied, nodding her head. It seemed like she did remember him, but Paul thought she was still confused.
“Let me accompany you to your house, Mrs. Vaughn. I know the way,” Paul suggested, holding out his arm. The older woman nodded and grabbed him tightly.
Paul walked her several blocks away until they reached her house. A woman in her 30s came out in a rush. “Mrs. Vaughn! Where have you been?” she asked.
“I’m here now, Linda. No worries!” Mrs. Vaughn answered and went inside as if nothing had happened. Linda looked at Paul with raised eyebrows, and the teenager told her everything.
A man in a nice suit was right outside. | Source: Pexels
“I’m afraid my mother-in-law might be losing some of her faculties. But don’t worry, kid. Her violin skills are still perfect,” Linda said and thanked him for bringing her back home.
Paul returned to the park, played for a couple of hours, and went home. He hoped Mrs. Vaughn would be alright for their lesson the next day.
After dinner, he sat down with his parents to watch television for a while when there was a knock at the door. Mr. Lawson stood up from his chair and opened it only to discover a man in an expensive suit standing outside.
“Yes?” Paul’s father asked the stranger in confusion.
“Good evening, sir. I’m Erik Vaughn. Is this where Paul Lawson lives? He’s one of my mother’s violin students,” the man asked.
“Yes, I’m Paul’s father. What’s going on? Did he do something?” Mr. Lawson asked and then turned around to call Paul over.
Erik reached into his pocket and handed Paul a check. | Source: Pexels
“Oh, no, sir. He did nothing wrong. I wanted to thank him. My mother left the house and apparently got lost at the park. My wife was desperate that she couldn’t find her. But your son brought her back home safely,” Erik explained and smiled as the boy approached the door.
“What’s going on?” Paul wondered.
Mr. Lawson repeated what Erik said, but the older man looked angry instead of proud of his son for his good deed. “What were you doing at the park today, boy? Didn’t you have to work?”
Paul got tired of lying and decided to tell him the truth. “I haven’t been working at the pizza place. I’ve been playing the violin in the park. I want to be a violinist. Mrs. Vaughn says I have the talent for it,” he told his father.
Mr. Lawson’s face started turning red, and he was about to burst when Erik spoke up. “That’s awesome, Paul! And listen, as thanks for helping my mother, I’m giving you this check. Take it as scholarship money,” the man said, taking a check out of his suit pocket.
He handed it to Paul, and the boy’s jaw dropped when he saw the number. It was $200,000. “This is too much, sir. I only did the right thing,” Paul mumbled and tried to give the check back.
Paul was accepted into Berklee. | Source: Pexels
“No, no. You helped my mother, and she has been gushing about you all evening. I knew I needed to do something for you. So, here it is,” Erik said and smiled at the teenager. “Also, if you ever need it, I do have some connections to the philharmonic. I might be able to get you an interview or maybe an apprenticeship. I’m not sure how any of that works, but I could help you later on.”
“Sure thing! Don’t skip your violin lessons, kid. Sir, you should be proud of your son. Have a good night, everybody,” Erik said and walked back to his expensive car.
Mr. Lawson was left speechless at the doorway. Meanwhile, Mrs. Lawson came over and hugged Paul in delight. She told her son they would go to the bank the next day to deposit the check and keep it safe for his college education.
For a while, Mr. Lawson was not happy with the idea of Paul becoming a professional violinist, but he came around eventually. When his son was accepted into Berklee College of Music during his senior year, the older man cheered just as much as his wife.
Paul achieved his dreams. | Source: Pexels
And many years later, after a ton of work, practice, and dedication, Paul got in the Boston Philharmonic. Mrs. Vaughn was not there to see his first performance, but his son and wife were. They sat next to his parents.
What can we learn from this story?
- Chase your dreams, no matter what. Some parents have expectations for their kids. But they should allow them to chase their own desires because it’s their life.
- Helping a person in need can change your life. Paul helped Mrs. Vaughn just because she was his teacher, but her son gave him the biggest reward of his life.
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