This is one of those odd stories that seems to prove just how great the internet can actually be. It begins with a viral video and is nowhere near finished yet. But all stories have to start somewhere, and this one begins with a tragedy. Johnny Crow, only 16-years-old, lost his father to a heart attack two months before his birthday.
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Yet his father had planned ahead. Johnny is into metal and had asked for a guitar for his birthday. His father had ordered the one he wanted before his heart attack, and when Johnny turned 16, his sister took him up to the store to pick up the guitar. It was an epic surprise, and one that left Johnny (and many others who watched the video) in tears.
The video went viral on Reddit. After, fans of Johnny Crow began reaching out, and many wanted to ensure he got the lessons he needed to learn to play. The owner of the guitar shop agreed to take in donations.
By June 8th, hundreds had donated. They were using PayPal and messaging the phrase “Happy Birthday Johnny” to firstname.lastname@example.org. The total on June 8th had reached more than $16,000.
That’s a lot of lessons. The guitar store is now working with a lawyer and the Crow family to find the best way to use the money.
And the money is only the start. Another user has bought Crow a second guitar. Other users, many from around the world, have offered other services. Dog sitting, home cooked meals, limo rides, even video editing. The thread has reached epic proportions.
After the thread took off, a cousin chimed in to provide some context:
“This is my wife’s little cousin, his father actually stood up for me in our wedding. If you knew his dad you would understand how prepared he was for everything. It really was a suprise for Johnny’s birthday and he couldn’t believe that his dad (who had passed from an unexpected heart attack about two months before) had one last suprise for him on his birthday. His sister had just posted the videoon facebook so the rest of the family could see his reaction and it blew up pretty fast. Johnny gets lessons once a week and playing guitar in his band is everything to him. I actually suprised him with Alice Cooper tickets for him and I to go later in the year. Just such a happy thing for Johny in such a rough time.”
Nita Strauss, guitarist for Alice Cooper, donated a pair of tickets and has arranged for backstage access.