August 12, 2010

Bobby and the Trumpet

Filed under: Feel-Good Story of the Day — Ann @ 5:05 pm

I was listening to Len Tillem’s “How come you’re callin’ a lawyer?” talk show on KGO radio while driving home from work today; at the top of the hour, Len put “Les” on the line to share the denouement of the call Les had made to the show yesterday.

Les — who sounded like a tired, kind, elderly Morgan Freeman — had previously called because the mother of his grandson, Bobby, had somehow become unable/unwilling to care for Bobby at some point, so this 14-year-old boy left home “with only the clothes on his back.” Now living with his grandpa, the musically-talented Bobby had apparently been begging his mother to let him at least come home to get his trumpet back, but had thus far been unsuccessful. I don’t know what the mother-son communication problem is, but it didn’t sound happy.

During the original call, Len Tillem had said that perhaps some of the listeners could help; he somehow made contact arrangements. So today when Les got on the line, he said he had talked to a “Mike in San Mateo” who told Les he had a trumpet he’d owned for years, hadn’t played in ages, and that he would gladly give his trumpet to young Bobby — all Les had to do was come down to San Mateo to get it. I’ll let Les tell the story as he told us over the air, quoting (roughly, from memory):

“Unfortunately, I had to tell him that without a car I couldn’t get down to San Mateo from Richmond…it would take hours and hours on different varieties of public transportation, and Len, this Mike said he would DRIVE up from San Mateo to Richmond and deliver it to us! He said he’d be there at 11 am the next day, and at exactly 11 o’clock he was on my doorstep with a beautiful trumpet. I asked him if he’d like to give it to Bobby himself, and he said he sure would. So we went to where Bobby was working — he does volunteer work — and Mike himself got to hand his trumpet to Bobby. Len, I took pictures and I’d love to send them to you.”

At that point Len Tillem got back on the air and said, “I’d love the pictures, Les, and let me tell you what ELSE happened after your call: we got tons of calls from listeners, wanting to do something. People were offering their trumpets — people were even offering money! I bet we got 15 calls from people all over the Bay Area, wanting to help.”

By this time, I had tears streaming down my face, thinking about Mike — who drove from San Mateo to Richmond! — and all the other good people who are our friends and families and neighbors and co-workers all over this beautiful and loving home we call the San Francisco Bay Area, all hearing about a little boy in need and dropping everything in their lives at that moment to contribute.

So if someone is having a bad day and says, “People are the worst!” or some such thing, please tell them the story of Bobby and the Trumpet.


  1. What a heartwarming story! So good to remember that most people are GOOD. Thank you!! <3 <3

    Comment by Laura Bohler — August 12, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  2. I LOVE this story! xo

    Comment by Alana — August 12, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

  3. I had tears streaming down my face too. I love kind, generous people that do good for the sake of doing good.

    Comment by NIcole Alfaro — August 13, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  4. Hi! I’m a webmaster here at KGO radio. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve linked our Facebook users to your post here. You write so well! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Comment by JLPoole — August 13, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

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