Aviation

“My heart palpitated”: Influencer raises $83,000 tip for airport pianist

A kind stranger has raised more than $80,000 for a pianist who spends his days tinkling the ivories and raising spirits at Atlanta Airport.

When Instagram influencer, motivational speaker and author Carlos Whittaker posted a video of Tonee “Valentine” Carter “playing his heart out” to his Instagram, noting that “hardly anyone” was noticing him, he had no idea the response his fans would have.

Whittaker said that when his flight home to Tennessee was rerouted to Atlanta International Airport last week, he was “super bummed”.

“As I was walking through the concourse, I heard someone playing the piano, and I just had to walk by them,” he told CNN.

“There was Tonee, going down and going to town, and I knew I just had to stay there.”

Whittaker told his followers that after listening to Carter’s beautiful music, he was compelled to invite him over for a chat.

He learned that the musician undergoes dialysis for kidney disease nine hours each night then goes and plays the piano at the airport for four hours each day.

Noticing Carter’s tip jar was empty, the motivational speaker, who has more than 220,000 followers on Instagram, asked his fans to send in money.

“Thirty minutes later and after a 20-minute conversation getting to know him, we tipped Tonee … US$10,000 ($13,000) which has grown to US$61,000 ($83,000),” Whittaker said.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Carlos Whittaker (@loswhit)

Carter told CNN that he thought Whittaker was kidding.

“That just doesn’t happen,” he said.

“I didn’t know how to feel. This is the kind of the thing I do. I love giving and donating and helping people, but I never expected someone to do it for me.

“It has had me crying for days, not because of the total, but because of the individual donations.

“I looked through all the donations and saw so many that were US$0.50, US$1, US$2. My heart palpitated because I knew they were giving me what they had. People were giving out of love.”

He plans to give the money to others, after he has his car oiled, he joked.

“That US$60,000 is not mine. It’s money that’s going to go to others,” Carter said. “There is only one way to say thank you, because words are inadequate. And that is to pay this forward.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Toneepianoman (@toneepianoman)


Since Whittaker’s act went viral, Carter has clocked more than 16,000 followers on Instagram, with many posting comments to his photos promising to visit him and watch him play the next time they are passing through Atlanta.


Featured image source: Instagram/loswhit


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Virgin furthers Velocity status extension, adds bonus rewards for flights between October and March

With international travel now well on its way, Velocity Frequent Flyer is proving that loyalty works both ways with some extra perks for members and the promise of new partnerships with overseas carriers.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival outlines new sustainability goals, with aspirations to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2050

Meanwhile, considering the state of things, the only thing Travel Weekly staff are aspiring to be by 2050 is still alive and kicking.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“CALLS FOR A HAPPY DANCE!” Qantas flighty wearing uniform for first time since COVID goes viral

This flight attendant’s happy dance has been melting hearts across the internet. The fact that she’s also an influencer probably helped, too.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Federal government takes next step in prepping for international travel restart

ScoMo and his team of ministers are hurriedly trying to make sure everything’s tickety-boo by the time our international borders reopen.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Aurora Expeditions jumps on mandatory vaccination bandwagon

If getting vaxxed is our ticket to travelling again, we at Travel Weekly gladly roll up our sleeves. Even if Bill Gates has popped a microchip in the doses (he hasn’t).

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Air Canada to resume Sydney-Vancouver flights from mid-December

Looks like Air Canada will beat Qantas by one day in resuming its Sydney-Vancouver service. We can hear Alan Joyce sighing from here.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott offers its own ‘vaccine passport’ to Aussie travellers

Fancy a month’s worth of free accommodation across Australia, NZ and the Pacific to enjoy once it is safe to do so? Well, you’ll need both jabs to be in with a chance.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Globus family of brands introduces proof-of-vaccination policy for all trips

If you’ve got clients booked to join any Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways or Monograms trip, you’d better pray they’re not anti-vaxxers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas to resume 12 international routes from 18 December

by Ali Coulton

If all goes to plan, 18 December will now be known as the beginning of the end of Australia’s overseas travel ban hellscape. Coincidentally, it’s also our deputy editor’s birthday!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Longest-running CEO of any major hotel company calls time on career

BWH Hotel Group’s longtime president and CEO is retiring, with an Esky, BBQ tongs and Big Mouth Billy Bass Singing Fish mooted as possible leaving gifts.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

ETG agents score access to thousands of custom trips via Designer Journeys

The company’s network of independent agents can now impress clients with access to loads of tailorable itineraries and expert advice.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Coral Expeditions launches new summer sailings along South Australia’s wild coast

The five new journeys all take place intrastate, so even the toughest border closures can’t put a stop to these babies. As long as your clients live in SA, that is.

Share

CommentComments