Casselberry music store applauded for decade-old letter

Customer dug up letter saying debt for new trumpet forgiven

CASSELBERRY, Fla. – A music store in Seminole County is getting international attention for a letter the owner wrote to one of his customers nearly 10 years ago. 

A post on the popular website, Reddit, shows a 2009 letter from the owner of Allegro Music Centre to a mother, saying the rent on her son's trumpet was being forgiven. 

The letter reads, in part: "I have been through bad times like you. But remember...Tough times never last, Tough people do."

In less than 24 hours after it was posted, the letter was named the top post on Reddit, with more than 181,000 upvotes. 

Jacques Ruffin started playing trumpet in middle school.

"I had no idea this letter even existed," he said, after he found it in a hallway closet. 

Ruffin says owning the trumpet enabled him to play band throughout middle school and high school. He still plays the trumpet from time to time. Since then, Ruffin has been overwhelmed by all the support online, and even moreso by the gesture the owner made. 

"To me, I was really surprised," he said. "It was really nice for somebody to even do something like that. I almost cried reading the letter."

The owner, Jim Jones, declined to talk on camera about the letter, but he did tell News 6 he hopes that if people take away anything from this, it's to go to a local music store and buy a used instrument and donate it to a local school or music director. 

The trumpet cost $810 and the owner says he never wrote the letter for publicity. He wrote it during the recession because it was the humanitarian thing to do. 

Ruffin is taking this attention and putting it toward raising money to go toward local music programs, so other students can have the instruments they need. You can learn more and donate here

The full letter is transcribed below. 

Dear Mrs. Ruffin: 

I have decided to forgive the rent on Jacques' trumpet. You do not have to pay me any more for the trumpet. It is yours to play. 

However, if Jacques drops out of band and stops playing the trumpet, will you return it to me so I can give it to some other deserving student. 

I have been through bad times like you. But remember   Tough times never last, Tough people do. 

Maybe, you can help some other student someday when times are better. 

Sincerely yours, 

James Jones

About the Author:

It has been an absolute pleasure for Clay LePard living and working in Orlando since he joined News 6 in July 2017. Previously, Clay worked at WNEP TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he brought viewers along to witness everything from unprecedented access to the Tobyhanna Army Depot to an interview with convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski.