GREENSBORO — The biggest Christmas surprise for Raeshaun Emerson wasn’t what Santa left under his tree. It was who came knocking at his door. “Who is it?” the 6-year-old asked. “The drummer boy.” And in walked an N.C. A&T drummer in full uniform, beating a snare drum.
The usually talkative Raeshaun stood speechless and open-mouthed. He kept saying, “Wow!” The drummer, Troy Hayden of Winston-Salem, is a student assistant for A&T’s Cold Steel drum line. That morning, he also showed Raeshaun how to hold drumsticks and gave the boy a pair that light up.
Raeshaun, who already had strapped on a drum he got for Christmas last year, played alongside Hayden. It was the ideal surprise for a boy who has been watching A&T’s drummers since he was 2.
Raeshaun often looks up the band online and watches videos of Cold Steel on YouTube, said Raesha Emerson, his mother.
But each time Emerson asked her son what he wanted for Christmas, he said he’d be happy with anything she got him or with nothing at all. He finally told her, “I just want one of A&T’s drummers to come and teach me.” The rest just came together. Emerson, a dental assistant, was chatting with a friend about her son’s Christmas wish lists, and that friend knew an A&T drummer. That led Emerson to Hayden. Hayden, 23, drove about 20 minutes from Winston-Salem to surprise Raeshaun.
“It’s such a blessing, though, to be able to do that,” said Hayden, an industrial systems engineering major.
For Hayden, making a child’s Christmas wish come true shows Cold Steel’s greater purpose. “At the end of the day, it’s all about giving back,” Hayden said, “and I’m glad I was able to do it.”
Emerson recorded the surprise for her father, who lives in Boston. The video was too big to email, so she posted it to YouTube.
Now, the video has been watched thousands of times. At least a hundred of those views may have been Raeshaun, his mother said.
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