Reporter Stanley Roberts ran into percussionist Marcus "The Magnificent" Malone while working on a story about illegal dumping last week, KRON-TV in San Francisco reports.
Although he initially was skeptical of the homeless man's claim that the Santana Blues Band got its start in his mother's garage in the late 1960s, Roberts checked out the story and confirmed it. And on Friday, he took Santana for a surprise visit to the camper where Malone has been staying.
"You don't know how afraid I am to let you see me," Malone said softly after he and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer embraced.
"We cherish you," Santana replied. "It's an honor to be in your presence."
Santana has credited Malone with being an important influence on his Afro-Latin sound, according to former Rolling Stone magazine writer Ben Fong-Torres' book "Not Fade Away: A Backstage Ticket to 20 years of Rock & Roll."
Malone played congas on Santana's eponymous first album, but left the band in 1969 shortly before its seminal performance at Woodstock when he was imprisoned for manslaughter, according to Fong-Torres.
The two men told Roberts they had not seen each other since then. During their meeting on Friday, Santana promised to bring Malone a set of congas and to help him get on his feet.
Since Roberts' story aired, another original member of the Santana Blues Band, percussionist Rod Harper, and producer Bobby Scott also have expressed interest in reuniting with Malone.