Deborah Akel drove from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia to see Richie Furay in concert only to find that he was sick and the Philly show had been cancelled.
That night she went on his website and left him a message to wish him a speedy recovery and to tell him how “majorly bummed” she was not be able to see his show.
Enter David Stone of Short Hills.
Stone, who was instrumental in bringing last week, saw the posting and knew he could turn a bad day into a good one for a die-hard fan of the former Buffalo Springfield singer.
“I emailed her and told her that if she was willing to make the trek from D.C. to Northern New Jersey, she could be my guest - and Richie’s - at the concert at,” he said. “I told her if she got up here early enough, she could also go to dinner with Richie and us.”
After getting over the initial shock of the offer, Akel said she still couldn’t believe her change of fortune but arranged to take a bus to NYC and the train to Short Hills. She was greeted by Stone and his wife, Nancy, and their colleagues at Nancy and David Fine Jewelry. They took her to dinner with Richie and about 30 people and she got to sit next Furay.
“It was a fantastic experience that far exceeded what I missed in Philadelphia, leading me to thank Richie Furay for canceling,” Akel said.
The Stones also made arrangements for Akel to stay at the Westminster Hotel in Livingston so she would not have to try to make it back to D.C. after the show.
“I was thrilled to have been able to see the performance I missed,” Akel said. “But beyond hearing great music in a stunning venue, the real story is the amazing thoughtfulness and generosity of David and Nancy Stone.
“It is my experience that such kindness – from two total strangers who just wanted to do something nice for someone – is extremely rare,” Akel said. “And when we are lucky enough to encounter it, we should shout it from the rooftops.”
The experience turned out well for everyone, Stone said.
“Deborah turned out to be a lovely person who was just terrific, warm and smart and helpful; at one point she was helping to usher people into the concert,” he said. “She was so excited and appreciative; it made me feel good to be able to that for her.
“It was a little out of character for me to do something like that for a total stranger on the Internet,” he said, with a laugh. “She could have been a loon. But, luckily, she was great.”
The Furay Concert did a lot of good in other ways as well – the Brotherhood at TBJ, which sponsored the show, sold 600 tickets and proceeds went to different local charities, including the Valerie Fund, Down the Block and the Education Foundation of Millburn and Short Hills.
“It was just a great evening all around,” Stone said.
Editor's note: Have you been a recipient of a random act of kindness? Let Patch know at firstname.lastname@example.org.