An article I wrote March 18, 2014. Still love the story. Had to share it again.
In today’s world, becoming a celebrity comes with a lot of pressure and even more assumptions. I feel blessed to live in the heart of Music City, which has given me the opportunity to see firsthand that, for the most part, artists and athletes are typically much more grounded than the rest of the world may think. Despite that encouraging blanket statement, my mind still defaults to the idea that the larger the star, the harder it must be for he or she to stay humble.
Last week, Best Buddies Tennessee asked me to be a part of a photo shoot with some of the participants in the Best Buddies Friendship Program. Anneliese Barron, State Director of Best Buddies, shared that Brett Eldredge was going to be part of the event as well. This eased my anxiety about being photographed because, ironically enough, Brett and I have been friends for years. Brett is a great guy. He’s funny, easy-going and most importantly, he falls into that humble category I referenced earlier. With all that being said, I can still honestly say I was blown away by my friend that afternoon. Let me be clear here – I’m not writing this to brag on Brett. I am writing this because I was so touched by the experience that I can’t imagine keeping what I witnessed to myself. That afternoon Brett went from a friend who plays music to a man who changes lives.
Let me take you back to last Wednesday. I was standing in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Nashville with the families and staff who are involved with Best Buddies. In walks Brett. Instead of looking toward Brett, I glanced over at the kids and adults, each of which have some sort of intellectual and developmental disability. Candidly, it reminded of when a bride walks down the aisle and you immediately turn to catch the groom’s reaction. Trust me when I say, this was a hundred times better.
Here’s the kicker. It wasn’t the initial reaction that got me all choked up. It was the interaction. Brett politely greeted the Best Buddies staff, but only after he dove in head first with the buddies. He hugged the kids and shook the hands with the men in the group. He treated them with so much warmth, you would have thought they were long-time friends. He sang multiple songs for them – right there on the spot, in the middle of the hotel lobby, without a care in the world. I watched him belly laugh as he listened to them tell stories and heard him give advice to one of the buddies, who incidentally brought his own guitar and played a song for Brett, which he made clear he wrote for Taylor Swift. Brett promised to pass the song along to her. He told Matt, the buddy, the song was awesome and to never give up; always keep playing because dreams are worth having. As long as he has passion, he has it all.
I think that may have been about the time I lost it. I’ve never been more proud to call Brett a friend than in that very moment. Seeing my friend using his platform for the better good of this world made my heart feel so much joy. I walked away that afternoon confident that all of the people involved in Best Buddies would never forget that day, but even more confident that Brett wouldn’t.
*photos by Cameron Premo Photography