This feature article in the Washington Post won the Pulitzer Prize, and I always felt like it misrepresented the situation.

Bell got LOTS of attention considering he was playing for rushing commuters. If 27 gave him donations, then at least 4 x 27 paid attention (probably more like 10 x 27). In other words, at 10% to 25% of all people passing by appreciated his performance. That is astonishingly good - and an impressive statement about his audience's awareness, not the reverse.

I'm not sure I would stop during my commute if I saw a UFO wiz by. That's a healthy thing - we have places to be and we value our time once we get there. And I don't think rushing commuters would have stopped if they were giving out free Joshua Bell CDs either. Most people just didn't have time.

It has been a while since I saw it, but I feel like you reach the same conclusion if you actually watch the video the Washington Post created about this.

One other thing: I think the violin was a Stradivarius. Super cool.