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Bruce Springsteen signs absence note for boy who skived school to see him

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David Cornish
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Michael Fenerty was born to run. Run away from school, at any rate.

The fifth grader (that straddles Year Five and Six in English money) is a massive Bruce Springsteen fan, an obsession inherited from his 41-year-old father Mike, veteran of some 160 Springsteen concerts. 

After Michael expressed a desire to see a Springsteen live, undoubtedly making his father's heart swell with paternal pride, Mike pulled his son out of class to see him play at Citizens Bank Park, a baseball stadium in Philadelphia.

"It was the first day of school for the fifth grade at Masterman, and of course Bruce played his longest show," Mike told Philly.com. "As a fan I loved it; as a parent I hated it. I wanted to kill him!"

Having broken the rules to fulfil his son's wishes, Mike - a former teacher turned lawyer - was left with a moral quandary; how to teach his son to follow through with school rules and present a letter of absence. 

So Michael and his father typed up a letter of absence and headed to the city's Free Library where 'The Boss' himself was signing copies of his new autobiography Born to Run.

And it worked.

"My son said, 'Bruce, would you sign my absence note?' [Springsteen] lit up. He was affectionate toward Michael as soon as he saw him. He said, 'I have to read it first, that's how I got in trouble with my first contract,' " explained Mike. "He said, 'I hope you don't get in trouble.' My son was very starstruck — it was a very cool experience."

Rather than handing the genuine article over to Michael's principal, his father had the letter photocopied, keeping the original. 

So there you go kids, skipping school can have amazing consequences - so long as you're not making a habit of playing truant. You could be like Michael Fenerty and meet a living legend, or you could be like British 16-year-old Sam Stannard - a kid who maintained a 100 per cent attendance record at his Brighton-based school for five years, overcoming sniffles and colds to keep up his record in the hopes of winning an iPad in the school's annual prize draw for those pupils who never missed a day.

Do you know what old Sam Stannard got for his epic run of form? A fountain pen and a certificate. Not an iPad, and not a signature from Bruce Springsteen. 

There's a lesson in here somewhere. We're not sure exactly what it is, but it's one we're going to pass on to our own children for sure.

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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