Paying a good deed forward

A letter that gave a struggling mum help years ago goes viral, rekindling message of hope

In 2009, music store owner James W. Jones did something that paid handsome dividends almost a decade later. Mr Jones, who runs Allegro Music Centre in Florida, penned a moving letter to a woman in dire straits, who was struggling to pay for her son's trumpet. To a certain Mrs Ruffin, he wrote: "I have decided to forgive the rent on (your son Jacques)'s trumpet. You do not have to pay me any more for the trumpet. It is yours to play."

The only condition, Mr Jones said, was that if Jacques one day decides to give up on his musical aspirations, the trumpet would have to be returned and passed on to another deserving student.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 27, 2018, with the headline 'Paying a good deed forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe