A couple months ago, Donald (Boone) Gould was living on the street. On Monday, he’ll be performing the national anthem at Levi’s Stadium before the San Francisco 49ers take on the Minnesota Vikings in front of a nationally televised audience.
Gould’s story is an unbelievable one. Back in late June, he was recorded playing a cover of Styx’s “Come Sail Away” on a public piano, and the video quickly became viral. Today, it has over 13 million views.
Since that moment, his life has changed. A former Marine whose wife died 17 years ago, he has struggled with drug use in the past and had been homeless for three years. But after his video went viral, a GoFundMe page was set up to help fund his rehabilitation. It has raised over $45,000 in two months, while several of the commenters have offered jobs to the 51-year-old.
Moreover, as his story traveled to news outlets across the nation, he was able to reconnect with his son, who he had not seen for 15 years.
“Music took me around the world before I was 21 and somehow now music has got me back together with my son,” Gould said.
Performing the national anthem in front of such a massive audience is no easy task. But for Gould, who played the clarinet in the Marine Corps band and has battled such immense tribulations throughout his life, it will be no trouble.
For those aware of his story, keeping a dry eye may be a little more difficult.
Kickoff for the game is at 10:15 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN.