Fiddler at the supermarket brings joy to shoppers

Right beside the bustling entrance at Stew Leonard's in East Meadow in Nassau County, you can find John Chainey playing the violin.

John, who retired from being what he calls a jack-of-all-trades kind of worker, told us bluegrass is his music of choice and appreciates the drive and power behind the genre. 

"Here I found a home," he said.

But Stew Leonard's wasn't always his home. The 71-year-old has been serenading strangers outside of stores for the past five years. He started at Walmart on Hempstead Turnpike. No-soliciting complaints landed John here instead. 

Unfortunately, it wasn't long before similar complaints at Stew Leonard's led to a short hiatus but this time the community rallied and refused to take no for an answer.

East Meadow mom Christine Karroll posted on Facebook and more than 100 of John's fans chimed in.

"I put up that [he was told] he couldn't be here and everyone freaked out," Karroll said. "I couldn't believe one post made people call and write letters."

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After an outpouring of support, Stew Leonard's invited John back and decided to compensate him for his time.

"We got a lot of emails from our customers saying, 'Please bring John back, we love him,'" store director Carl Danielson said. 

John insists he doesn't do it for the money. He said he enjoys sharing his joy with people and likes seeing their reactions as they walk by.

"What brings me here every day is sharing my joy with other folks," he said.

And as much love as he brings to everyone else, John gets it back in return. With each note he plays, he vows to never forget the time the community came to his rescue.

"I am blown away," he said. "Truly blown away."