Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world, plays in the lobby of the DC Metro. What were the reactions? I couldn't believe it myself when I first read it. Kind of long, but I think it's worth the read. Make sure you watch the videos that are in the article...
It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant.
Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he's really bad? What if he's really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?
Rest of the story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html
I thought this comment summed it up nicely...
"...makes me wonder if I'm like all those people, too much in a hurry to notice the beauty before me. Then most frightning of all - what pearls have I passed by in my lifetime and never knew it?"
Being a musician myself, I definitely would've stopped for at least for a couple of minutes. No matter how busy I was.
So... what would you do?