July 6th, 2009
02:42 PM ET

Aspiring musician gets lucky ticket

Donte Zierway felt like the luckiest man in the world on Monday after he scored two tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial.

Donte Zierway

The Buffalo, New York, resident said he had traveled by blind faith to Los Angeles even before registering online for his chance to attend the event.

The aspiring musician said he spent $700 for a plane ticket in anticipation of this being in the city set to mourn the musical legend on Tuesday.

"I would have slept on the street outside of the Staples Center if I had to," Zierway said. "I had to be here."

When he still hadn't received word as to whether he had won tickets, Zierway said he prayed to his mother, Shirley Dean, who was the same age as Jackson when she passed away in October.

Two minutes later, he said, he received email confirmation that he had won.

"I'm so grateful, man," Zierway said over and over.

So grateful that he caught a bus from his hotel and walked 30 minutes in the scorching Los Angeles sun to pick up two tickets and a golden wristband, which will allow him entry into the memorial.

Zierway said he planned to get a haircut and don his best outfit to join other fortunate fans in remembering Jackson.

"This gives me such bragging rights with my friends back home," Vierway said. "I had a friend who was crying on the phone to me when I told her I won. She cried for like half hour in my ear."

– Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer


soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Dont'e Zierway

    Thank's Please help me find out how my Mother Shirley Dean passed away.. I spoke of her when I won the tickets to Michael Jackson's Memorial. I've tried to get help from the Buffalo, NY Police Dept., Municipal and ECMC (hospital). They refuse to help me but over 15 witnesses can agree that there was possible foul play at her house where they found her body. I now need everyone to help who can.. My Mother Shirley Dean was born 3.30.1958-10.21.2008. If you can help call me @ 1.716.200.2067 and listen to my original songs (myspace.com/blackdiamonddonte)..Facebook – Dont'e Zierway

    September 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dont'e Zierway

    Thank You, so very much again Lisa for covering my story.
    Also myself being a Singer, Writer, Producer I will forever take this
    with me as my inspiration to continue my pursuit in the music industry. I also posted a video on YouTube entitled "Michael Jackson From The Hood"pt.1,pt.2 for all the true dedicated fans to Michael Jackson and his music. My music and songs can be heard on myspace.com/blackdiamonddonte. I am seeking an opportunity in the major music industry and I am available for shows, performances, concerts and events. Contact Dont'e Zierway 1.716.948.5801 or email me dontezierway@hotmail.com.

    November 9, 2009 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Debbie S. Elliott

    I have been listening to Michael Jackson for many many years. I grew up on seeing and singing with the Jackson 5. Since Michael venture of to his own solo career I still was a devoted fan. If I had won tickets to the memorial services I woul have went thru hoops to get to the memorial services. I continue to grieve and cry everytime I hear his name or watch him on televison. I would like to send my blessings and prayer to the entire Jackson clan. Let's remember MJ has gone on to a very good place. Family keep praying that God take care of you. God don't you no more than you can bear. Remember he is with the angles and he will sing and dance for the Lord. I wish to see MJ on the other side so I personal I would lile see you in action. MJ is the same age with me so age doesn't really matter. My favorite sing was I'm Gonna Make A Change.

    July 7, 2009 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Juanita Wood

    Donte's story touched my heart. I know God answers prayers and he was given favor. Thank You Lisa from CNN for reporting sucha a positive story.
    Let us all keep the Jackson family in our prayers.
    PEACE & Blessings to the World
    Juanita

    July 7, 2009 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. yvonne

    The world lost a very lovely soul on June 25,2009. We all love and miss Michael. So much has been said about his life...what we all must remember is the dedication he had to the world...if only we all could love as Michael did the world would be a much better place...thank you Michael for all your songs,music and dance. As a fan I feel dissapointed that I could not share in celebrating your memorial, as so many other fans were excluded...there is no place big enough for you!

    July 7, 2009 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. Michelle

    That's great, but know that ALL things come from our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Not family or friends that have passed. Give thanks to where it is due! God Bless....

    July 7, 2009 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lisa

    OMG, Congratulations you deserve it my friend you will be representing all of us who loved and were inspired by the music and more importantly the spirit and love him his heart. God Bless and be safe..

    Michael Jackson RIP (1958-2009)

    July 6, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Linda

    Good for this fan. I hope that all who attend are truly fans and mourning the loss of this sad genius. And my God bless and protect the children he left behind.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Miriam

    Without having been involved in this man's life, how is it that anyone describes it.

    Can't we just leave him in peace. He was an amazingly talented artist who so obviously gave his heart and soul, and now his life, to us. I don't know whether or not he was guilty of any of the things anyone has accused him of and frankly, I don't care. None of it takes away the gifts he left the world with. It is possible to be both a gifted person who shares his gifts with the world and to be troubled at the same time.

    Why do we need to keep digging up whatever scandal we can on him. There's enough good that he left to focus on for many, many years to come.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. maria, southern california

    good for you, you deserve it for your loyalty to michael.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michele

    Congrats to those who got the ticket. As for me, I'll be watching it on TV in Ireland, with a pack of tissues and a candle probably. But here's a thought:
    Michael Jackson's family wanted this memorial to be 'fee-free', and that's very honourable. A great majority of his fans like myself are going to watch it on TV...wouldn't it be great if the TV channels broadcasting the memorial were to do a good gesture too...like giving any earnings from this TV coverage to charities?..just a thought;-)

    July 6, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KD

    Good for you, Donte! Your story brought a tear to my eye. It does my heart good to see the outpouring of love for MJ. While you are paying your respects, could you say a little prayer for MJ and his family on my behalf?

    July 6, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donte Zierway

      Thanks for your comment and support. You know I still haven't got any help in finding out what or how my Mother passed away. The city has not been of any help and I need help.. If you like you could call me if you know of anyone who could assist me. 1.716.200.2067 Dont'e Zierway....thank you sssssssssssoooooooooooooooooooomuchhhhh. If you would like to hear my music type (myspace.com/blackdiamonddonte

      September 8, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |

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