One of the reasons I spent 15 years volunteering for the Make-a-Wish Foundation (before being “fired” for trying to get them to stop selling forged autographs), is because I love what the charity does. Helping kids with terminal illness, and reading the stories about them meeting their celebrity idols, always warmed my heart.
There have been three stories recently that were wonderful. The most recent was singer Pink, who at a concert in Australia, stopped the show to go out and hug a 14-year-old girl in the crowd who had a sign about losing her mother just weeks earlier. Her mom was a big Pink fan and they planned on going to the show together. Pink hugged the girl, told her “everything will be all right” and offered to autograph her arm. The girl asked for a selfie, and the video has been all over the news.
Another singer (and rapper), that didn’t make as many headlines for his act of kindness, was Drake. Last week, an 11-year-old girl waiting for a heart transplant, posted on social media that she wanted a visit from Drake. He saw it, and showed up at the hospital. He took photos, signed autographs, and made her day (heck, made her year). My eyes were tearing up when it came on TV, and my wife ruined the moment by saying, “Uh, what is a young kid doing listening to Drake?”
A terrific point, but I didn’t let it sully the moment for me.
In the old days, we always heard about the athletes visiting sick kids in the hospital. They’d sign a baseball for the tyke and promise to hit a homerun for them. Surprisingly, that happened. Khris Davis of the Oakland A’s went to visit 10-year-old 6th grader Anthony Slocumb before a game. It was his Make-a-Wish to meet him, and he was part of a group of kids brought to the ballpark. Slocumb is in remission from a rare cancer, and he told Davis he was his favorite player. Davis than asked the kid to sign his jersey. He printed his name in blue Sharpie on his white uniform, and then said “Do you want to sign mine, too?” Smart move, kid.
The A’s won that game against the Rangers, 9-0. But more importantly, Davis smacked his 37th home run (of the season, not that game). Davis said, “I thought about him around the bases. There’s not a better feeling than hitting a home run, so hopefully he got some excitement and joy from watching that.”
Reporters asked if maybe Davis should give the kid the jersey. He said he’d rather keep it, or perhaps auction it off to help others in need.
If only more athletes were this classy.