Opening the door to the Guildford Tom Lee Music store on Saturday (Aug. 3), Saahyl Sharma was all smiles giving cookies and a card to store manager Kurt Thys and staff member Lorenzo Peretto.
Recently, Saahyl’s mother, Soreya, came into the Guildford store looking to get a used guitar re-strung after Saahyl, who had undergone open-heart surgery as a baby and is still receiving follow-up, decided he wanted to learn how to play guitar.
“I got home and I said, ‘Here’s your guitar’ and he was like, ‘Mom, this is amazing,” said Soreya, adding that Saahyl said he wanted to make cards and cookies for the staff in thanks.
After hearing Saahyl’s story and being “touched by the kindness and strength of this family,” the staff at the Tom Lee store decided they wanted to give a brand, new acoustic guitar to Saahyl, so they invited him and his family to the store for a surprise staff had been orchestrating over the past week.
“We fixed the guitar as much as we could… We were like, ‘We’ve got to give him a fighting chance.’ So no one missed a beat,” said Kurt, adding that the staff pooled their money to purchase the new guitar for Saahyl.
Saahyl and his parents, who live in Fleetwood, had brought his (now old) guitar with him on Saturday and showed it to Thys and Peretto and other staff.
“We were thinking we could fix this a lot more, or we could give you a guitar,” Kurt told Saahyl.
Unwrapping the guitar, Saahyl didn’t miss a beat before strumming the guitar and giving a little show for everyone in the store.
“I can’t thank you enough,” said Saahyl. “It was really nice. I enjoyed rocking out and having my first new guitar, opening it, having all this and having Mr. Lorenzo and Mr. Kurt.”
To top off the surprise, Thys’ wife Tracy Strand-Thys also bought four guitar lessons at the store for Saahyl.
Soreya said she had seen the store’s social media call out to her family while sitting at home a few days after she went into the store to get the first guitar re-strung.
“I started reading it and said to my husband, ‘Oh my god, you have to read this. This is so touching.’ I started crying. Then as I’m reading it, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this is us,’” she told the Now-Leader.
Initially, Soreya said that when she and Saahyl came into the store to say thank-you, she said no to the new guitar since Saahyl had just received one, but she said “everything just sort of evolved from there.”
Getting to see Saahyl receive the new guitar, Soreya said was “just amazing.”
“I’ll tell you, there’s so many kids out there that are in the same or worse positions and just to see a child get something… they all deserve something,” she said.
According to post written by Soreya on the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation’s website, Saahyl underwent open-heart surgery shortly after he was born “to correct TGA (transposition of the great arteries), ASD (Atrial Septal Defect) and VSD (ventricular septal defect)” after being born with a heart defect.
As for Saahyl, the eight-year-old already knows which song he wants to learn first – “Hotel California” by the Eagles.
“It’s a simple song to start off with,” said Saahyl, adding that he mostly wants to learn rock songs.