A young boy, not more than 10 years old, is walking through the number 6 train in New York City at 10:45pm. He is carrying a black book bag that has some stains, drumsticks and a drum with him. On his face is a mixture of emotions ranging from determination, sadness and frustration. Around his neck, instead of a gold chain, he wears a beaded necklace showing the colors and flag of his country, the Dominican Republic.
In true panhandle fashion, he shares that he is trying to raise some money and he will play some music on his drum. He sets his drum on a seat between two people. The little drummer boy begins to play. The wall, seat and floor become his extra drum support in his little show. Some are annoyed. Finding it to be very loud noise, they cover their ears. They completely lose what he is showing: passion, strength and determination to be heard.
As he sees the annoyance of some, he plays harder, determined to finish. He wants to put on the best show that he can. The better the show, the more money he can earn. For this little drummer boy, it isn’t just noise, it is his way of earning money using what he loves to do: play his drum.
Upon completion, he looks around and asks if anyone is willing to give him some money. It seems only fair. A show for a dollar. It has become common place in the New York City transit system. Only this is different.
Here we have a little boy walking through the trains playing his drum for money. He should be home in bed getting ready for school. Have New Yorkers become so jaded that seeing this has little to no affect on them? As I watched the faces of my fellow passengers, it seems it did not faze them. Only an event of massive proportions like Mother Nature’s fury or war are the only things that can shock.
As I laid my head on my pillow that night, I thought about the little drummer boy on the 6 train and prayed he would go home, sleep and wake up to be just a little boy who loves to play his drum. No worries. Just a boy and his drum.