We were so touched when Christopher Kilday shared this amazing story with us. It's what we're all about here at GigMasters - helping people celebrate life's biggest moments. Grab a kleenex. In Christopher's own words...
Last month, Sgt. Jorge L. of the United States Army Signal Corp contacted me through GigMasters, with a special Valentine's Day request. He is currently stationed in a combat zone in Afghanistan and wanted me to go in his place to serenade his sweetheart. He had searched many talented performer's profiles and asked me to perform for his girlfriend, an Army Nurse at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. I told him, "I would be honored to perform for your sweetheart." He then asked me if it would be difficult for me to make the trip to Honolulu, where she was stationed. I told him, "Jorge, I play everywhere - no place is too far." Jorge and I communicated by email for the first week, then one day I received a phone call which had many strange numbers on my caller ID. I picked up the phone, and I heard from the other end, "Hello, Christopher, this is Sgt. Jorge." I was not expecting a call from Afghanistan and was surprised that his voice came through so clearly. Jorge was very reserved on the phone and he asked me many questions about what I do, what songs I could sing and he asked me if I could play some requests. I told him, "without a doubt". He asked me if I could sing Brenton Wood I like the Way You Love Me, Jimi Hendrix Little Wing, Alicia Keys Un-thinkable (I’m Ready), Moldy Peaches Anyone Else But You. I thought about the selections and additionally suggested to him Extreme More Than Words and Honeydrippers Sea of Love.
I spent six days in Honolulu preparing for the gig, taking my guitar to Waimanalo and Waikiki Beach to rehearse. It was unbearable. Just kidding, I was in heaven! This was not my first GigMasters event in Hawaii, in fact it was my third in a couple year's time. Hawaii has a special place in my heart, I lived in Hawaii in the past, working on the Cruise ship, the S.S. Independence and it brings me great joy to return to the 'Sandwich Islands' that Captain Cook discovered in 1778. The people's Aloha spirit, the world class beaches, the freshest seafood and the distinct floral effervescence of Plumerias, Gardenias and Tiares captivate my senses and delight me. Jorge made several more nervous calls to me that week. We talked about how I would meet her. I had asked for her photo and knew I would be able to recognize her, but Jorge had wanted this to be a surprise - he did not want to tell her what would happen on Valentine's Day. This posed a challenge. What if she was sick that day? What if she did not take a lunch break? I began to think of this and knew that could not happen. We decided I would encounter her at her favorite cafeteria that day. Jorge guaranteed that, and I had complete faith in him.
When I awoke on Valentine's Day I envisioned the afternoon - I had to enter a completely unknown location, wait surreptitiously for an unknown and unsuspecting client, and deliver a serenade in an Army Hospital. Cool. On Valentine's Day, before the performance, the nervous Sgt. Jorge called from Afghanistan, to make sure that the surprise went well. I waited anxiously at the cafeteria. Jorge told me that Atina was on her way, and she was expecting a surprise.
When she finally arrived, she was decked out in her operating room garb, long blue and green flowing material that billowed in the wind when she entered the courtyard I was waiting in. I knew it was her immediately. I stood up, walked over to her, calling her name and extending my hand. She was dumbfounded, then looked down to see the guitar and immediately knew what was happening. She was beside herself, her face turning red and appeared out of breath. We sat down and chatted while she nervously answered her phone. It was Jorge. She couldn't believe and was smiling. Atina was a sincere, quiet woman. She told me that Jorge and her were very much alike in that regard. I could tell that from the way they both spoke that they were a good match and that they cared deeply for each other. As we wound our way through the hospital, we stopped off at the florist to pick up a huge vase of roses Jorge had also sent. Atina had an entourage! It was a sight to see the patients and doctors smiling and watching Atina. They were smiling with her as her roses and the guitarist followed her closely down the corridors. We found a semi private courtyard, and I immediately opened my guitar case and began playing Little Wing the first song Jorge had requested. Atina lit up and was smiling from ear to ear as I sang. Her phone rang immediately as if on cue. It was Jorge, he was calling her to share the moment with her. I looked down, and noticed a lone tear on her face. It was a sublime beauty. I was playing my part, helping these two distanced lovers momentarily connect through time and space. This Valentine's Day was one none of us will ever forget. Thank you, GigMasters, for bringing us together.
To view all the photos from the event, visit Christopher's Facebook fanpage. To learn more about Christopher, visit his profile. Do you have a romantic story from Valentine's Day that you'd like to share with us? We'd love to hear from you. Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org