After viral video, homeless Florida piano player reunites with son

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – When cell phone video of Donald Gould playing the piano went viral last week, the Sarasota man hoped his long-lost son would see him. That’s exactly what happened. On Tuesday night Gould reunited with his son – after 15 years – through FaceTime.

“At least I had the opportunity to talk to him and he was willing to talk with me,” Gould said. The musician struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. He lost custody of his son when the boy was just 3-years-old. Gould is entering rehab Wednesday.

“I never knew you could play like that,” Donnie told his father Tuesday. Donnie asked 8News sister station News Channel 8 not to use his last name or location.

This photo of Donald Gould and his son Donnie was taken shortly after the latter was born. (Photo: WFLA)
This photo of Donald Gould and his son Donnie was taken shortly after the latter was born. (Photo: WFLA)

He is a recent high school graduate.

“I’ve thought about him and I knew he was out there and I just thought about him,” Donnie said. The teen still keeps in touch with some of his father’s relatives.

Gould was able to get some of his feelings off his chest after not being able to chat with his son for more than a decade. “I missed your whole childhood, you know, and I apologize for that son,” he said.

Friends of Gould offered to fly Donnie in for an in-person reunion, but the invitation was declined. “Yeah, I got to have some time,” Donnie explained.

A News Channel 8 viewer donated a clarinet to Donald Gould. (Photo: WFLA)
A News Channel 8 viewer donated a clarinet to Donald Gould. (Photo: WFLA)

His father understands. “That’s alright. Take some time and digest this. It’s going to take a minute,” Gould said.

“Music took me around the world before I was 21 and somehow now music has got me back together with my son,” Gould said. He played clarinet in the Marine Corps band. The musician is now wearing donated clothing. He had his hair and beard cut.

“I’m so happy to see you,” Gould told his son. The young man told his dad to “get (his) act cleaned up.”

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