By Jessica Sooknanan
An impromptu song between a patient at a hospital and a pastor is touching hearts across the country. Now, several million views later, the duo has recorded an original song in Atlanta.
“I never ever thought it would turn into this,” Vera Swain told Hot Topics. “I was just looking for the restroom!”
Last month, Swain was looking for the restroom at Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital in Baytown, Texas when she heard music filling the lobby.
“At first I thought it was a CD playing or something,” said Swain.
The music was coming from Pastor Mark Willhoite’s piano. It was part of his weekly visit to the hospital to minister and comfort patients.
Moved by the music, Swain joined in and sang with the stranger.
A video of the moment has now gone viral, getting more than 13 million views.
“I feel like there’s just so much chaos and confusion and in the world,” said Mark. “We’re singing about love. She’s black and I’m white. People are tired of hate and they’re hungry for love.”
Swain worked as a dialysis nurse for 31 years. To comfort her patients, she sang to them during their treatments.
“I guess it’s just my way of letting them know that I would be there and I would care for them, not just as a worker and a patient, but deeper than that,” said Swain. “Some sang along. Some cried. But I think I brought a lot of comfort.”
Since meeting at the hospital that August day, Swain and Willhoite have become close friends. The two even traveled to Atlanta to record a song together, working with music producer David Huff at his studio in Good Hope.
“We tried to get back to that moment in the video,” said Huff. “We got musicians from the Atlanta area and went back to the old-school way of recording. It was like they were still sitting at that piano in the hospital.”
Willhoite says he hopes the recorded song moves people the way the original video did.
“We’ve got to have unity. We have to have love,” said Mark. “This moment took place at the right time when our country is a mess and divided… People want to see our country heal. This speaks for itself.”