And The Music Stopped

New York Philharmonic

Cover of New York Philharmonic


Not so long ago the conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra stopped right in the middle of a performance.

He turned his back to the orchestra. Instead he stared at a certain segment of the audience. He paused for a long time. The only sound heard was that of a cell phone ringing.

Then the conductor firmly, but boldly said “Would you please turn off your cell phone?”

It made the evening news the next evening. Many newspapers reported this most unusual development the next day. The consensus was who was this clown whose phone was not muted; and why did he not mute the phone straight away when it went off?

The judgment was swift and severe.

But it was wrong.

You see the man whose phone went off just got it the day before. He was also a patron of the NY Philharmonic for 25 years. A season ticket holder. He was passionate about classical music. The problem was that he thought he muted it but there was another step he did not know to take and once the phone went off he was unable to stop the alarming noise.

Embarrassed and humiliated he wrote the conductor a letter of apology and explained his side of the dilemma—-a story few people probably knew about after they watched the initial report in the mainstream media.

From this story a learned a basic lesson. Do not be quick to judge.

As a doctor I only know too well the perils of making a diagnosis before one has all the facts. It’s also true outside my exam room. Get the facts first before you judge.

Please let me know what you think of judgmental people. And let me know how you handle them.

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2012-03-24T01:28:36+00:00 March 24th, 2012|Inspirational|

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