5 Incredible Acts Of Kindness From Professional Athletes That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity
Headlines are always trumpeting heart-wrenching news. This is especially the case in sports. Although atrocity garners publicity, it undermines faith in humanity. Conversely, acts of kindness generate waves of generosity. Like pebbles cast in a pond, they create a ripple effect. The following pro athletes took the ball of kindness and ran with it. Such altruistic acts have the power to change the world.
Compassion for a Cancer-Struck Teen
Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp made fans misty at a 2013 baseball game. When it was over, the coach told Kemp a young man wished to meet him. Kemp stepped up to the plate and then some. He strode over to the teen sitting in the first row of the stands. The boy handed Kemp a baseball, which he promptly autographed. Then in a rush of emotion, Kemp peeled off his cap, jersey, and cleats and gave them to the boy. He concluded the gesture with a heartfelt handshake. Kemp had no idea his actions were being captured on film. To see this stirring scene, click here:
The beneficiary of Kemp’s uniform was Joshua Jones. He was wheelchair-bound, weak, and unable to speak. Kemp had been told Joshua wouldn’t live much longer, three months at most. Joshua was only 19 and had been battling cancer for three years. The coach had given him a baseball during the third inning. His dad asked if Kemp might come over and say hello to his son. Kemp went above and beyond what was asked of him. Although the Dodgers lost the season, Kemp came out a winner in what really counts in life.
Christmas Gifts for Abused Kids
Each year, football receiver Andre Johnson has played Santa to abused youth in Houston. He invites 12 kids from social services to Toys “R” Us for a shopping spree. They have 80 seconds to stow all the gifts they can fit in a shopping cart. The number “80” pays tributes to Johnson’s uniform. Johnson has done this for eight consecutive years. The annual bill averages $17,000.
In addition to the toys the kids select, Johnson gives each child a bike, gaming system, and presents for their siblings. The children are chosen by Child Protective Services. They range in age from eight to 16.
The tradition is one that Johnson looks forward to every year. His philosophy is “Who can I add value to today? It’s not about me. It’s all about helping others.”
Winning for a Blind Child
At Teacher Appreciation Night in 2013, baseman Ryan Howard met 7-year-old AJ. Howard’s team was hosting the event. The boy gave Howard a wristband to raise awareness for his blind condition. He also asked Howard to hit a home run on behalf of the cause. Howard delivered, blasting the ball over the turf and into the right-field stands.
AJ was thoroughly excited when he first met Howard before the game. But nothing could surpass the thrill of a homer made in his honor. To view a video clip of the miracle-in-the-making, click here:
Dancing with a Fatherless Daughter
In May 2014, NFL pro Nate Collins took a 10-year-old girl to a father-daughter dance. Two years earlier, Nadia Marotti had lost her father to brain cancer. The girl’s mother had previously met a friend of Collins at a charity event. She told this man about the dance, and he notified Collins. The Chicago Bears tackle jumped at the chance to take Nadia to the dance.
Collins arrived in a black limo to pick up his date at her Crystal Lake, Illinois home. He had been scheduled to host his team’s draft party that night. He felt taking Nadia to the dance was substantially more important. He knew how much the occasion meant to the family. It was a night Nadia would never forget.
Lunching with the Homeless
Many acts of kindness are offered incognito. An example of this occurred in October 2013 with basketball star Otto Porter. His selflessness came to the media’s attention when an awestruck onlooker sent a letter to The Post.
The Washington employee was lunching at a table outside a sandwich shop. Nearby sat an unkempt homeless man. He was asking passersby if they could spare a sandwich. After 25 minutes of being ignored, Otto Porter drove up and entered the store. He emerged with lunch for himself and the homeless man. Then he sat down next to him for a lively conversation. It turned out they both shared a love of Georgetown basketball. They excitedly discussed the history of local coaches and Georgetown traditions. It was apparent that Porter was greatly enjoying this man’s company. The employee observing the scene was so inspired, he felt compelled to write The Post.
Changing the World
Each of these athletes went out of their way to ease the lives of others. The impressions they’ve made are precious legacies. Though striving to win is a noble goal, the true champs are those with hearts of gold.