FORT MYERS, Fla. - We've had to report some terrible news this week from across the country. We want to highlight something good that happened right here in Fort Myers, an act of kindness that helped keep beautiful music alive downtown.
Even if you don't know him by name, you know him by his music. Songwriter Jimmi Melton is a fixture on the steps of the old First Bank building in Fort Myers, strumming his guitar people pass.
"I've gotten to play a lot of music for a whole lot of people," Melton said. "I've got the best friends in the world down here I really do."
But, days before Christmas, the music stopped. Someone stole his black guitar from outside The "World Famous" Cigar Bar. "They did the one thing I didn't think was possible," Melton said, "got it out of downtown without anyone seeing them."
The crime struck a chord with downtown businessman Terry Tincher. "His whole world is built around that music," Tincher said. "He has to have that thing."
So, one Saturday in February, Terry presented Jimmi with a beautiful red 12-string guitar from his personal collection.
"I just walked up and said hey you know what? This is for you," Melton recalled.
"I couldn't believe it," Melton said. "I was in shock. And, he just walks away. That's Terry. He is such a good man."
And so, the music continues at the corner of First and Hendry thanks to an act of kindness, not just for Melton, but an entire city.
"Jimmy is part of what the magic that has made downtown what it is now," Tincher said.
"It's about putting smiles on peoples faces, that's what it's all about," Melton said. "Too many times,we don't have a whole lot to smile about.But, we can do something about the spot we are in."
In quite a coincidence, a local artist actually painted a picture of Jimmi on the steps, playing a red guitar. But, he'd painted it weeks before Terry gave him that red guitar, simply adding red for artistic effect.