Hey guys! Thank you for your patience as I prepared a new update over the past few days. Your supportive comments and messages have been really wonderful and encouraging. Although our project has taken some coordinating, you’re far too kind to me. Phone calls, emails, quotes – these things aren’t difficult for me. You trusting a stranger on the internet with your donations, now that’s exceptional.
So, let me update y0u on where you are now. As I mentioned in the last couple of updates, I’ve placed the order with Doug MacPherson, our bagpipe maker, and I’m glad to report the payment has gone through! (You can see the receipt below.) What’s even more exceptional is how closely the amount raised matches the charges. We raised over $1750, which came out to roughly $1588 after GoFundMe fees, and the pipes cost us 900GBP – or $1580. PayPal’s exchange rate was a little rough, and I expected us to have about $90 left over. However, we’re left with $8 and change. Personally, I’m happy about how closely we fundraised. Although many of you had really wonderful suggestions about different ways to spend the money – buying locker space, a selling permit, teddy bears, etc – having a discussion about how to spend excess money with 135 donors would not be an easy task. The way things worked out, we still have to decide on how to spend the leftover cash, but our options are much more limited. You can see the breakdown for how we spent every cent in the summary below, and in earlier updates.
As you saw in the photo on my last update, I stopped by Union Square to chat with Malcolm’s bookstand partner Michael, who has been immensely helpful with reaching and communicating with Malcolm. Surprisingly – but very fortunately! – I finally ran into Malcolm. I had no doubt we’d reach him, especially after speaking with him on the phone, but it was great to see him in person. As Michael had mentioned to me earlier, Malcolm is a little quirky, but he’s a brilliant piper. We had a brief chat, and I assured him of our progress. He has been pulling away from working at the bookstand to play more, and has using a very low-quality set of bagpipes he’s come by in the meanwhile. The bookstand is now mostly run by Michael. Malcolm told me that he has always wanted a set of MacPherson pipes, and I think that having a great set of pipes – commensurate with his 40 years of playing experience – is going to make all the difference to him.
I’m meeting Michael for coffee sometime this week, and am excited to learn more about his story. One thing that struck me in our initial conversation was just how lucky Malcolm was to be in the right place at the right time. Michael had stepped away for coffee for a moment when Brandon Stanton, the HONY founder, came by while Malcolm was watching the bookstand. In meeting with Michael, I’m also looking forward to learning more about Malcolm. I’m definitely going to sit down with him after we give him the bagpipes to learn more about his story.
So, here’s the summary: we’re in touch with Malcolm, we’ve placed the order, and our maker Doug MacPherson is starting on the pipes this week! Definitely do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, and thank you so much for your incredible support.
Here are the specifics of our spending: