Welcome President Obama.

I’m going to tell you a little story. About five years ago I was living in New York City and it was mid-winter. I had to perform three live shows in Europe in one weekend… Thursday, Friday, Saturday. The Wednesday night before my flight I decided to add a ton of new material into my set and only ended up with a few hours sleep. Each show was in a different country and by the time I got on my flight back to NY I was totally destroyed. I had a layover in Frankfurt and because of a massive snowstorm hitting the east coast of the USA the trans-Atlantic portion of my flight home ended up being delayed about 15 hours. Remember at this point I was already awake a seriously long time. In Frankfurt I got pretty sick and the entire flight to NY I was tossing, turning and blowing my nose.

Finally I land in at JKF (airport in NY). It’s still snowing there and it takes us about two hours to taxi to the gate. I can barely walk and finally grab my luggage. At that time I was using an Akai MPC and Roland JP-8000 so I needed a rolling cart. I drove myself to the airport so I had my car parked there. Normally you exit the main terminal and take a shuttle bus to the long term parking lot. When I reached the outside door I slipped and fell and hit my head on a metal door. Now I was seriously sick, tired and bleeding! I was really starting to come unraveled at this point. There were a few hundred people waiting for the shuttle bus which seemed very odd. It wasn’t long before we were notified that because of the snow no shuttle buses were running. The snow was so deep I couldn’t push my rolling cart to my car. I had to carry two bags, the MPC and JP-8000 a seriously long distance in the snow. It was now also around 10:00PM. My car was so far away that when I finally found it I was all alone and the car was completely buried with a thick layer of ice on it. I had no gloves and really began to get concerned. If I had some sleep in me this situation would have been ok but I was in serious pain at this point.

So there I was bare handed digging my car out. Out of the darkness I see a flashlight coming my way. A black man on foot approached my car. He had a small shovel and without saying a word starts digging me out. When I started to help he begged me to stop because I had no gloves. It took him almost an hour but he dug my entire car out. I had a my fee from three shows in my pocket and reached in and offered him $200. He wouldn’t take the money. I pleaded with him to please take it but he refused over and over. I offered him more money and less money too. He just smiled at me and said have a safe drive home and walked away into the darkness.

Today I dedicate the following song to our new President. It’s been a long time commin! The change has come.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke:

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I was born by the river
In a little tent
And just like the river
I’ve been running ever since

It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh, yes it is

It’s been too hard living
But I’m afraid to die
I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky

It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
I say brother help me please
But he winds up knocking me
Back down on my knees

There’s been times that I thought
I wouldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come
Oh, yes it will

You can buy this song at: amazon or itunes

photo credit: BohPhoto and CR Artist

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on November 5, 2008 at 1:37 am, filed under music, political and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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12 Responses to “Welcome President Obama.”

  1. Johan says:

    Great story and a great song. I really hope Mr Cooke is right.
    /Johan

  2. Chuck Smith says:

    Wow, crazy story. Glad he found you at such a time.

    Also, I hope Obama will be able to live up to his promises. He’s got a real uphill road to go…

  3. Adam X says:

    There are 8 million stories in the naked city and this one is really good.

    Finally after a year and half of living in Berlin , I can feel proud to tell people here I’m an American!

  4. Case says:

    Obama dug you out of a snow storm?

    =)

  5. Dyna Blade says:

    That’s a great day for the world.
    I hope that can be the beginning of a new era and some leaders in Europe can be inspired by that.

  6. malissa says:

    That’s a beautiful story Oliver. There are so many untold stories like these. Small moments that come to mean so much. We are out there… in a market, at an airport, on the side of the road, we are alone, weary, beaten up, anxious, sometimes even afraid, maybe so far from home, or just completely out of our element, or just down the street and running to make a meeting… and then out of no where in spite of all of the division and sometime in the absence of hope, someone manages to reach within and reach out and make that connection and we remember that we are not alone, we are in this together. Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  7. einmeier says:

    thanks for sharing your lovely story, it just feels so good that poeple are out there willing to help each other. life ain’t easy but these tiny moments full of love, respect and help make life so special. also living in germany i was watching CNN as long as i was able to keep my eyes open and as soon as it became apparent who’s gonna be the next president of the united states i fell asleep and my dreams have been full of hope that things will get better. keep the hope alive.

  8. PJ says:

    That’s an amazing story, one to share and pay it forward.

  9. nathan says:

    nice story about the kindness in people – but how is it relevant to Obama?

  10. Kelvin Gumbs says:

    I thought it was a very cool story but I’m not sure what Obama was related to it? Was it Obama who dug your car out? I guess I’m not seeing how a black man who dug your car out of the snow is related to Obama? Maybe I missed the point?

  11. I’m not sure my story has a direct connection to Obama being elected. However, all election day I kept thinking about that night in the snow.

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