UPDATE (July 30, 11:30 a.m.): Tom Lee Music staff are pleased to reveal they have located the family, and the boy is set to receive his new guitar this weekend. This story has been corrected to clarify that the boy is not set to undergo a second open heart surgery, as store staff initially thought.
Staff at a Surrey music store are hoping the public can help them find a young boy who touched their hearts, in the hopes they can give him a new guitar they have all pitched in to buy for him.
The story began when the boy’s mother walked into the Tom Lee Music in Guildford, needing to get a used guitar restrung for her son. It didn’t take long for staff to discover her eight-year-old son had undergone open heart surgery, for which he was still receiving follow-up.
The instrument wasn’t in the best shape, said store manager Kurt Thys, adding that he saw “the deflation in her eyes” when he informed the mother the guitar wasn’t worth much.
“Then the story started to come out. She was a really nice lady. Lorenzo is my number one guitar restringer, he takes pride in his work, so I said, ‘Lorenzo, get on it.’ I told him to rock it, to detail that guitar, do whatever you can to make it as good as possible. He’s all smiles, really positive with her,” said Thys.
“Sure enough, we get the guitar up to speed. I come back the next day, and Lorenzo is really taken aback. He says, ‘Last night, the mother came back with the son, he had baked fresh cookies and written him a handwritten thank you about this guitar.’ I was just like, ‘wow.’
“I didn’t meet him personally, but I’m told he’s completely a positively kind kid.”
Lorenzo Peretto beamed as he recalled the boy’s positive demeanour, and the cookies, of course.
“It’s on my fridge at home,” Peretto told the Now-Leader, as he restrung a guitar for another customer at the store Monday afternoon. “It was so unexpected. And baking me a fresh little tin of cookies? Come on,” he said with a smile.
After that, it didn’t take long for the staff to decide they would all pitch in and buy the boy a new guitar.
“We just thought, we have to do this. We have to do the right thing,” said Thys.
But here’s the problem: By then, the boy and mother were long gone and since they didn’t make a purchase at the store, their names and information were not stored in the company’s system.
“We have a great guitar picked out already,” said Thys, adding that he didn’t want to reveal what type of guitar it is publicly so as to keep it a surprise for the boy. “It’s factory sealed. That’s part of the experience – for him to open up the box that’s all sealed up. We want to present it to him.”
Thys said the store has put a call out on its social media channels for information, but as of early Monday afternoon, no one had come forward.
If the family reads this story, Thys and his staff urge them to call the store at 604-588-3200.
“We have in our kitchen a sign that says, ‘On the darkest nights you see the brightest stars.’ In the darkest hour, this kid is just positive. And there’s a lot of negativity in this area, it’s a Surrey thing, but every once in a while someone walks in and restores your faith in humanity.”
Surrey’s Tom Lee Music store is located at #157-10090 152nd St.