In my time busking I have had a number of interesting encounters. Sometimes it feels a bit like a video game earning points as I do more tricks. And then there are the bonus rounds where points are doubled, tripled, or more.
Once a man tipped me an Iphone. When I charged it up it had a message that indicated it had been stolen and a request to call the owner to return it. I tried the number once and then forgot about it for a month, but I eventually got through to a lady who was overjoyed to be reunited with it.
+10 for helping out your fellow players.
Sometimes tips come in the form of directly useful items like the time a kid gave me a brand-new denim button up, and it was my size!
+25 for your arsenal of resources.
As for those bonus rounds, they’ve happened three times:
Once by an older lady who insisted on giving me a drug dealer handshake in the middle of playing “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie, completely ruining the vibe. I was annoyed, but only until I saw old Benjamin’s face peaking up at me. I got paranoid for a moment, looking around to make sure nobody was plotting to jump me, then I slipped the bill into my front pocket as slyly as possible. I played for the next few hours with a confidence and conviction that only comes after receiving a precious gift from a stranger. It was like she was saying “I see you, and you are worthy.”
+100 for teammates who value your expertise.
The second 100 dollar bill came from a teenager who had been watching me for about 30 minutes. As he left to continue on his way he casually dropped a bill in my tip jar. I could see the 100 printed on the back, but thought it was fake. It stressed me out because it was lying right at the top of my tip jar for everyone to see. As soon as I finished my song I fished it out. It turned out to be the real deal. It later occurred to me that he might of thought that it was a 10. I hope he knew it was a 100.
+100 for the younger generation showing you the trick to beat the level.
Most recently, a man approached me as I was packing up for the night to express that he appreciated my music. He encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing. Then, he place a folded-up bill into my hand, looked me in directly the eyes and proclaimed that this offering was from God. I believed him.
+100 for divine intervention.