Bonnaroo essay contest winner No. 1: David Rice | Rock Candy

Bonnaroo essay contest winner No. 1: David Rice




Last week on Rock Candy, we put out a call for essays about your craziest, funniest, most awful or hilarious or heartwarming or hair-raising concert experiences, offering a pair of passes to Bonnaroo to the people who wrote the four best ones.

Well after reading 30-some-odd essays, we've selected the four winners. Narrowing it down wasn't easy — you all have some pretty good stories (some of ya'll have truly crazy stories and might should consider seeking professional guidance. Just kidding kind of!).

First up, we've got this truly heartwarming tale of a good deed, a serendipitous encounter and karmic reward, from reader David Rice.

The Grateful Dead would only play twelve more shows together following those two nights at Giants Stadium in June 1995, but I was having a blast before I saw the sign written on cardboard: "DAVID R___, I HAVE YOUR WALLET! STAY HERE!!!"

I did not move. Inside my wallet were tickets to each of the remaining shows, plus over $500 in cash. Whoever found the wallet would be set for the rest of the summer if they kept it.

A stranger eventually approached, holding my driver’s license. He asked my address and birthday before returning the wallet. I rifled through the cash, not to count it, but to give him a reward. He refused to take it. "Once I found your wallet, giving it back was the right thing to do. I don't need a reward for doing the right thing." We chatted for a bit then went our separate ways.

I told this story about a year ago on a Phish message board, and someone claimed to be that kind stranger. After a few messages, there was no doubt that we were both who we claimed. Jon and I have become friends online, though we have never met up again.

Since I had nobody to join me if I won this contest, I reached out to Jon, now living in Arizona. He said he would love to join me at Bonnaroo if we won and thanked me for thinking of him. I told him it is the right thing to do.

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