STEVE INSKEEP, host:
It's Friday morning, which means it's time for StoryCorps. This project is recording everyday Americans talking about their lives.
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INSKEEP: Today we have a story from Ron Kroenke. He's a professional piano tuner at Omaha, Nebraska. And here, Mr. Kroenke remembers one December day when he was called to tune a piano at a nearby nursing home.
Mr. RON KROENKE (Professional Piano Tuner): A group gathered around in chairs and they were all wearing their nice Christmas clothing. And I thought, well, how nice, you know. They have no idea that I'm going to bore them to sleep with my tuning. And I'm kind of working along happily and I'm smiling at people. And a few of them were looking at me like, what in the world is he doing? One lady was just glaring at me. Another lady was given me sympathetic looks. Her name turned out to be Rose.
And then the activity director comes in and says, okay, everybody. Ms. Jennifer was here and she saw that the piano man was tuning the piano. So she'll be back in January. I didn't realize they had a concert scheduled that day.
About a third of the people looked highly disappointed, and they were murmuring to each other, trying to tell each other what had happened. The angry lady barked at me and said, you know, haven't you ever heard if it isn't broke, don't fix it? And she stormed off. I had scooted over on my seat out of the view of Rose because she looks so hurt. And suddenly, she touched my arm and it startled me. And I looked and she was very close to me. And she told me very sincerely, I've been sitting here the whole time and I've been watching what you do and I can tell that you're the kind of person who would never walk away from this piano until everything was just so.
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Mr. KROENKE: That was a moment where someone did just the right thing, just out of the blue, and it did mean something to me.
INSKEEP: That's Ron Kroenke at StoryCorps in Omaha, Nebraska. This interview will be archived along with all the others at the Library of Congress.
More of these stories were in the new StoryCorps book "Listening is an Act of Love." And you can also find them at npr.org.
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