FRESNO (CBSLA.com) — After a Dierks Bentley song struck a chord with CBS2 news staffer Gihee Chang, she wrote Bentley a heartfelt letter.
Little did Chang know that Bentley would go on to post that letter to social media and arrange to meet her.
She says the song “Riser,” which weaves a story about a man’s sacrifices for his family, reminded her of her own father. He immigrated from South Korea with nearly nothing and worked hard here in Southern California to raise a family.
The song’s message also gave her the strength she needed to deal with her beloved father’s deteriorating health and the anguish it’s causing her: “Tells you to keep trying, do whatever you can, don’t stop until you achieve the goal you want, that resonated with me.”
She poured out her heart in a letter to Bentley and handed it to a security guard at the country star’s concert last weekend in San Diego.
“He has Alzheimer’s now, he can barely speak and his once strong body is now frail,” Chang wrote in the letter. “But to me, he is always a ‘riser.’ ”
Bentley said, “The night I got that, it was my dad’s birthday, I was in San Diego. My dad would have been 92. My dad was definitely on my mind, so reading the story about her father and all he did to provide for a better life for his children – it was such a moving letter.”
He posted that letter online and it quickly went viral, with messages from people around the world who can relate to Chang’s story.
“I never in a million years thought that he would post it on his social media,” Chang said.
Bentley invited Chang to his guest at a concert in Fresno and she got the rare opportunity to speak with one of her favorite artists about how much his music means to her.
The lasting message that Chang has taken from this experience is that “music brings everybody together .”