'I didn't know I affected so many people': College student given piano after playing for shop customers

His impromptu concert at a store while wearing a face mask led to a social media search for a mystery piano man.


A college student living in Boston received a surprise gift after he recently played an impromptu concert for customers in a Massachusetts store.

John Capron was browsing at ReMARKable Cleanouts with his girlfriend when he stumbled across a Whitney piano.

The 23-year-old asked an associate, Melissa Rediker, if he could play for a bit and she said yes. The self-taught pianist, who was wearing a face mask due to COVID-19 restrictions, then began to play Journey's "Don't Stop Believin,'" and Rediker immediately began recording his performance.

"I just shot that short video and posted on our Facebook page as a feel-good story, and it just blew up," Rediker said. "People wanted to buy it for him and (asked) 'Who was he?' and I didn't know who he was because he was just gone."

"Usually, the kids are jumping on it playing 'Chopsticks,' which drives everybody nuts, so it was good to hear him," said store owner Mark Waters. "As he was playing, people just started surrounding him."

Capron's performance was a social media hit and made national news, as Waters tried to figure out who the masked piano player was.

"Everybody was like, 'Who is this man?' and I was like, 'That's me,'" Capron said. "I didn't know I affected so many people."

Eventually, people identified Capron — who goes by John Thomas Archer on Facebook — as the mystery piano man.

On Wednesday, Capron returned to ReMARKable Cleanouts, as Waters offered to give him the $200 Whitney piano for free.

"I was thinking, 'I cannot turn that down. I definitely cannot turn that down. This would be the first piano I ever owned,'" Capron said.

For an encore performance, the architecture student played John Legend's "All of Me."

Waters, however, decided to up the ante by giving Capron a Steinway and Sons piano, which is valued at more than $3,000.

"It's amazing. The weight of the keys is perfect," Capron said. "These pianos go for thousands of dollars, even at older models."

"To see him cry made me cry," Waters said. "It's just going to sit here, so if you can bring it into somebody else's life and bring it back to life, God bless America. You know what I mean, that's what life's about. I wish I could do this every day."