Video of homeless Sarasota man playing piano is going viral

News

SARASOTA, Fla (WFLA) – Video of a homeless Sarasota man is going viral after he was captured playing the piano. There are seven pianos on the sidewalks in downtown Sarasota as a part of the Sarasota Keys project.

“It’s an interactive public arts project in downtown Sarasota,” said Jim Shirley, with the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. “The whole idea is to give access to people who want to express themselves.”

Donald Gould, 51, was playing one of those pianos in front of the Clasico Café and Bar when Dylan Henry and his mother, who are visiting, captured Gould on video. Within 24 hours, more than 500,000 people had seen the video. “It is my passion. I just like to make people happy out there when I’m playing. I put my hat out there and sit it on top of the keyboard in hopes of making tips because I’m homeless,” Gould said.

Gould has been in Sarasota for a while. He is shocked his talent is getting so much attention. “It’s overwhelming to me. I can’t believe it. I’m still fighting off tears. It’s unbelievable. I never thought it would come to this. I’m a clarinet player,” Gould said.

Unlike Gould’s music, his life hasn’t been so beautiful. He is a former Marine who has struggled with drugs. He lost his wife and son several years ago. “I had a wife pass away on me in ’98 and I had a son and I was kind of heavy into the pill thing. They took our child away from us, and my wife took a handful of morphine pills and died. She just went to sleep. I couldn’t keep it together and eventually social services got tired of it and they terminated my parental rights. Everyday it’s painful. There’s not a day that’s gone by since they took him from me that I haven’t thought about him. He turned 18 last August 24th. I wish he would come and find me,” Gould said.

Raffaele Perna is the owner of the Clasico. He told News Channel 8 he wishes more could be done to help Gould. “We are trying to control the amount of tipping that happens not because we don’t want them to be rewarded but they take the money and buy booze and whatever they buy and then they come back an hour later and they can’t even play the piano. That’s the heartbreaking part to it,” Perna said.

As for Gould, he is thankful for the attention but hopes his son sees the video and reaches out. “I’ve always loved him from the day he was born. I’m never going to stop loving him,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Videos

What senior citizens need to know about stimulus checks

Thumbnail for the video titled "What senior citizens need to know about stimulus checks"

a USF graduate has started building gym equipment so that people can workout at home

Thumbnail for the video titled "a USF graduate has started building gym equipment so that people can workout at home"

Veteran buys $20K bottle of bourbon from Datz for $40K to help restaurant stay open during coronavirus crisis

Thumbnail for the video titled "Veteran buys $20K bottle of bourbon from Datz for $40K to help restaurant stay open during coronavirus crisis"

Polk County cities hold elections in midst of global coronavirus pandemic

Thumbnail for the video titled "Polk County cities hold elections in midst of global coronavirus pandemic"

Car wash claims Pinellas is only county in FL to shut down services due to Coronavirus

Thumbnail for the video titled "Car wash claims Pinellas is only county in FL to shut down services due to Coronavirus"

Big Storm Brewing making hand sanitizer 24-7 amid pandemic

Thumbnail for the video titled "Big Storm Brewing making hand sanitizer 24-7 amid pandemic"

Bucs unveil new uniforms

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bucs unveil new uniforms"

Local restaurant helps feed emergency workers '1 taco at a time'

Thumbnail for the video titled "Local restaurant helps feed emergency workers '1 taco at a time'"

The latest on the coronavirus pandemic in Florida

Thumbnail for the video titled "The latest on the coronavirus pandemic in Florida"

Local farmers struggle amid the coronavirus

Thumbnail for the video titled "Local farmers struggle amid the coronavirus"

Coronavirus vs. Allergy symptoms

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus vs. Allergy symptoms"

Tuesday Midday Weather Update

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tuesday Midday Weather Update"
More Local News

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss