Carter is used to performing for people from all over the world, but he never expected to receive the recognition he got when Whittaker posted him.
Whittaker just so happened to come across the talented Carter as He was traveling home to Tennessee.
“I was super bummed that morning and had to reroute to Atlanta. As I was walking through the concourse, I heard someone playing the piano, and I just had to walk by them,” Whittaker told CNN.
“There was Tonee, going down and going to town, and I knew I just had to stay there.”
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Whittaker took to Instagram to tell the magnificent tale.
He captioned his post of Carter playing and said, “Tipping the airport piano player $10,000. I stopped to have some Chick-fil-A and noticed nobody was paying attention to this piano player, so I thought I would sit down and enjoy his music. I saw his empty tip jar and asked you guys to cash app and Venmo a tip for him.”
“30 minutes later and after a 20-minute conversation getting to know him, we tipped Tonee, who has kidney disease and is on dialysis 9 hours every night but still comes into work every day to play…$10,000… which has grown to $61,000.”
”I love it when we show the talking heads who make a living stoking outrage that there’s a better way to be human. This is it. Love you guys.”
When asked how he felt about what happened, Carter said, ”I just lost it. I thought he was kidding. I just couldn’t believe it. That just doesn’t happen.”
“I didn’t know how to feel. This is the kind of thing I do. I love giving and donating and helping people, but I never expected someone to do it for me,” he added.
Despite his ill health, Carter is an optimist. He says he loves his job, and although it may be difficult considering his conditions, he goes to work every day.
“When I’m playing, I feel like the happiest man in the world,” he said. “The happiest person in the world. I am happiest playing piano and watching people respond to that happiness with theirs.”
Carter said he plans to donate his money as it was a gift meant to be paid forward.
“That $60,000 is not mine. It’s money that’s going to go to others,” Carter said. “There is only one way to say thank you because words are inadequate. And that is to pay this forward.”