VIDEO: Woman smashes UGA student performer’s keyboard, reaches into tip jar

Thankfully, bystanders booed the woman and her friends away and helped Hsu set his keyboard back up.
Published: Oct. 1, 2023 at 2:09 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2023 at 12:31 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A University of Georgia (UGA) student has gone viral after he posted a video to TikTok showing a woman harassing him during a street performance.

Andrew Hsu performs for the public in Athens every Friday, sporting a piano keyboard, a harmonica, and his voice. But one performance went off-key.

“I come out here just about every Friday and I just play until 2:30 a.m. -- probably around 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Hsu said. “It’s just something fun to do. It makes some tips on the side. It’s a good side hustle.”

A video Hsu posted shows a woman pressing her hand on Hsu’s keyboard during his performance, prompting onlookers to chastise her. She later circles back during Hsu’s last song of the night, “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. This time, she presses her hand onto the keyboard more forcefully, causing the keyboard stand to collapse and the keyboard to fall to the concrete sidewalk below.

“Then she says, ‘Oh, I’m sorry that it happened,” Hsu told Atlanta News First. “She’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to leave you like a $100 tip, reaches into her purse, like unzipped her purse, and then like reaches into my bucket, and it looks like she pulled something out,” he said.

After the keyboard clatters to the ground, the video appears to show the woman reaching into his tip jar.

“That’s when my shock turned into anger and I stand up, and I’m like, ‘Hey, hey, hey, what are you doing? What are you doing,’” Hsu said.

Police have identified the woman as Tommanesha Shauntae Heard, 21. Heard has been charged with theft by taking and criminal trespass interference with property. Athens-Clarke County police said Heard “is aware of the warrants,” but has not turned herself in.

“She reached out to me. She said, ‘I’m sorry about my behavior. I didn’t mean to mess up your performance,’ and then she said she didn’t steal any money from me, and that she pump-faked taking money out of my bucket, and basically said that she wants people to stop harassing her and her family,” Hsu said.

“I actually accepted the apology,” he said. “But the thing is just that you need to know that actions have consequences. That was the thing I was trying to tell her.”

“She needs to own up to what she did,” Hsu said.

Hsu said Heard has called him crying.

“I don’t condone anyone harassing her or her family,” Hsu said.

Police said Heard was identified with the help of a Facebook post admitting to the video.

Hsu said he is thankful for the bystanders who booed woman and her friends away and helped Hsu pick up his keyboard. One man even emptied his wallet and put it into the tip jar to replace any stolen tip money.

“It really restores my faith in humanity,” Hsu said in the video.

Since posting the video, Hsu’s story has appeared on several media outlets, like TMZ and the New York Post. Famed singer Charlie Puth even reached out to Hsu to send encouragement.

“Just continue to be inspired friend...I will be watching :)” Puth wrote.

“He also invited me to one of his shows which is absolutely insane,” Hsu said.

“Some other people that have supported me company wise-- Casio, has reached out and said they’re going to send me a new keyboard and a piano stand. We’ll see about that,” Hsu said.

“Also, Korg, which is also another piano company, they have like a beat board piano that they want to send to me,” he said.

“It’s just absolutely amazing. I don’t even know if I’m processing it correctly because there has just been so many people messaging me and commenting on the video, like how much they support me, and it just means the world to me,” Hsu said.

Atlanta News First has reached out to Heard via social media but has not received a response.