KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A young man who regularly plays his saxophone outside a shopping center in KCK got quite the surprise over the weekend.
Tre’Veon Yates has played his saxophone at the Westfield Shopping Center off State Avenue, every summer since he was in the sixth grade.
“I was really scared to come out here to play at first,” the 20-year-old said. “But you get the right person playing that saxophone, you can change somebody’s mood.”
He said he quickly learned the value of a dollar through his music, and it’s carried into his college years.
He plays now to raise money for college. He’s been working extra hard the last few weeks to save before heading back to Alcorn State in Mississippi, where he’s studying music education.
“I’m trying to get that degree and come back to my community and start a business,” he said.
On Sunday, he was playing and caught the attention of Dywane Evans’ wife, who called her husband to tell him about Yates.
“That’s greatness right there, and I just want to be a part of that journey,” Evans said of Yates.
He drove to the shopping center and gave Yates $1,000 in cash. The generous exchange was captured on video and has garnered nearly 40,000 views on Facebook.
“Any young man that’s trying to do better for themselves, I’m going to do whatever I can to offer support,” Evans said.
“When he pulled the cash out of his pocket, I was like ‘Oh my gosh,’” Yates added. “I’ve never seen that much money in my life.”
Evans didn’t have many male role models growing up, which led him down the wrong path. He’s since turned his life around.
“It took me some time to really realize what I was doing and the hurt I was causing my community. But once I got it together, it changed my whole narrative and way of thinking,” Evans said.
Evans said he’s now trying to be an inspiration to young people. He wants to let them know there’s a better way. The father of 10 championed other men in the community to be role models for the youth.
“If we had more outreach from gentlemen around my age, just imagine the difference it could make,” he said. “Just offering an encouraging word sometimes or just pulling the youth to the side and uplifting them, that’s what this is about.”
Yates said Evans generosity was the highlight of his summer and the largest tip he’s ever received. He added that he plans to pay it forward.
“I’m glad to be able to do this and I won’t stop,” Yates said. “I won’t stop.”
Yates says he wants to open a music store in KCK after he gets his degree. He leaves for Alcorn State in two weeks.