Preconceived ideas about people, their tastes, and their expected behaviors, come readily. Few would expect a disabled old physics nerd like me, who typically prefers Mahler symphonies and Wagner operas, to be equally enthralled by heavy metal music. Nor might one expect the musicians of that genre to be anything but shallow, hotel-room-trashing numb-skulls and prima donnas. Such stereotypes are deeply etched.
So it will surprise some that the German industrial metal band Rammstein — now in their 28th year without a single lineup change — have been making this gracious offer during their current tour of Europe and North America: fans with documented, severe visual disabilities are invited to visit their elaborate stage prior to each show. Being a huge fan, and with them scheduled to come through Minneapolis, I had to take advantage of this.
At the venue, one of their staff met my son Alex and I, and as she led us down through guts of the stadium, I asked her why they were doing this – perhaps a band member had a relative with vision loss? She said yes, it was the idea of one of the guitarists, Paul Landers, who felt it important to reach out to the blind community. I told her, “Please thank him for us, we really appreciate this.” She answered, “You can thank him yourself, because he will be leading your tour.”
When you come across such a class act, the only downside is that you feel that you cannot adequately express your appreciation. So the best response is to emulate it ten-fold, to find ways that you can unexpectedly brighten the day for a stranger, someone in need. There is no downside, only unlimited potential good karma to get further spread.
Vielen Dank, Paul.