Carlos Whittaker Stuns Airport Pianist with Instagram Followers’ Charity
By John Tuttle
In July, author, podcaster, and Instagram influencer Carlos Whittaker, who carries with him some 220,000 followers on the social media network, significantly impacted another man’s life.
The man’s name was Tonee. The 66-year-old plays the piano situated next to a Chick-fil-A inside the Atlanta airport. After talking with Tonee, Whittaker discovered that the airport pianist had been diagnosed with kidney disease.
Tonee revealed that he receives dialysis treatment, which is meant to cleanse the body of various toxins, for nine hours each night. But every morning, Tonee musters the strength to show up to the airport and play the piano for four hours.
“He radiates life,” Whittaker shared in an Instagram post.
Whittaker told Tonee’s story to his massive following and encouraged them to send cash tips Tonee’s way for his beautiful piano playing through Venmo and CashApp.
“I stopped to have some Chick-fil-A and noticed nobody was paying attention to this piano player so I thought I would sit down and enjoy his music,” Whittaker wrote. “I saw his empty tip jar and asked you guys to cash app and Venmo a tip for him. 30 minutes later and after a 20 minute conversation getting to know him, we tipped Tonee, who has kidney disease and is on dialysis 9 hours every night but still comes into work everyday to play… $10,000… which has grown to $61,000.”
“I love it when we show the talking heads who make a living stoking outrage that there’s a better way to be human. This is it. Love you guys,” he added.
Initially incredulous, Tonee became emotional at the announcement. It’s mind-boggling. A sincere happiness can be found in his teary eyes.
And just as quickly as Whittaker had told Tonee what was happening, he dashed off to catch his plane, leaving a grateful man to ponder the abundance of human charity.