How to be at the Right Place at the Right Time

Arturo Sandoval is one of the world’s greatest musicians. People fly across the world to watch him perform, and playing with him is considered a highlight of any musician’s career.

When Sandoval was in town to perform, I was fortunate enough to attend his concert.  While the show itself is a haze, something happened that I’ll never forget.

Sandoval stepped off the stage for a brief intermission. His producer took the mic and told us a story that gives me chills to this day.


“I had to stop by Nordstrom,” Sandoval’s producer began, “for some grooming stuff that I forget on the road.”

“While walking down the block back towards my hotel, I heard a familiar sound. Someone was playing Moon River. I turned around and saw it was a young boy. I started to walk away, but something pulled me back towards him.”

“I stood silently by while the boy continued playing. After he had finished, I told him that my father-in-law wrote the score for that song.”

The child’s eyes lit up.

“You know Henry Mancini?!” the boy exclaimed.

Impressed by his musical knowledge, the producer ask the boy whether he had ever heard of Arturo Sandoval. The child had and was excited to meet someone so famous – or at least someone who knew someone so famous!

The producer noticed something about the boy. He was playing on a used trumpet and clearly did not come from a family of means.

Even the cheap seats at the Sandoval concert would have been out of reach for the boy’s family. So the producer invited the boy and his mother to attend the concert as Sandoval’s special guest.

The boy impressed Sandoval, and the producer and Sandoval had a surprise for him.

Halfway through the show, Arturo Sandoval himself welcomed the boy to join him on stage. Together they played Moon River.


What losers will think.

The unmotivated will say that the child got lucky. He was at the right place at the right time and hit the lottery.

That is a loser’s mindset that misses the real truth. Yes, the boy was at the right place at the right time. But it was no accident.

The boy was at the right place at the right time because he put himself there. He said the right things because he knew what to say.

The kid could have been playing video games or watching television or getting into trouble with his friends. He could have been wasting him time reading Buzzfeed.

He instead was doing something else – the only thing that mattered. He was mastering his craft.

Are you at the right place at the right time?

I left out the best part of the story. After playing together, Sandoval told the boy that he needed a better trumpet – and he handed the boy one of his own. This would be like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant giving a game-winning basketball to a teenage ball player.

Somewhere an 11-year-old boy is playing a trumpet on an anonymous street corner.

What are you doing to be at the right place at the right time?

  • weak stream

    Do you live in Austin TX? I just saw Arturo play the One World Theater in Austin TX last week. Arturo was incredible as was his drummer and pianist. Most people don’t know how influential this kind of music has been to contemporary music. Great stuff.

    • Danger & Play Blog

      It was quite a performance, wasn’t it?

      The show was in San Francisco.

      I miss SF because of Yoshi’s and the great shows they’d have. I’m a big fan of Afro Cuban jazz, jazz guitar, Sandoval, etc.

  • sportsforaliving

    Great post. Great message.