Age 11 Boy Forms Unlikely Friendship with Age 96 WWII Veteran After Giving Him Foul Ball

Sometimes it’s easy to be nice. Holding a door open doesn’t take much effort, and offering to give someone a ride home because they’re on the way is simple enough — both are still helpful ways we can show kindness to others.

But when an act of kindness involves sacrifice, that seems to imply there’s a real, deep-seated sense of care and concern.

For 11-year-old Ty Barber, that meant giving up something that was rightfully his because he wanted to honor someone else. An avid sports fan and involved in little league himself, Barber had caught a ball between innings at a baseball game.

It was during a Buffalo Bisons game on July 3, 2017. Barber happened to be in a prime spot to catch the ball, and he held onto it until the end of the game, no doubt elated to have nabbed it.

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Something else had happened during the game, though, that must have given Barber pause. At one point a man in his section, 96-year-old Richard Snethen, was recognized for his service.

A WWII veteran and baseball fan, Snethen probably didn’t expect the boy to come up to him at the end of the game and offer him his prize catch. But that’s just what the boy did.

Snethen was surprised, but encouraged and honored. A later interview with HeartThreads revealed just how much the kind gesture meant to the vet.

“I mean that was the most moving thing, one of the treasured moments of my life, to tell you the truth,” he said. “It makes you really feel that there’s some hope for America yet.”

Barber was touched by the veteran’s sacrifice, and felt compelled to act. “Well, I guess I’m trying to be a role model, and we really have to honor our veterans,” he said.

Snethen accepted the gift, boxed it up, and set it on a special shelf next to some other baseball paraphernalia, including an original poem that he crafted after the heartwarming encounter.

“Ty Barber caught the fielder’s ball, / Holding it close ’til the game was over,” the poem began. “Then, with a hug and a beaming smile, / He gave his prize ball to a WWII vet on the aisle.”

“The ‘Greatest Generation’ is now being challenged / By a yet to be named generation. / The Bisons won, six to two / And both Ty and I — WON TOO!” Both the 96-year-old and the 11-year-old read it together in the video, bringing it to life and really illustrating their friendship.

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“A great example of a child acting better than many adults,” one viewer commented. “This is why I love my job working with children.”

“Love this story and even better that this kid knew what it means to be an American and to give back to a veteran who did his part for us,” wrote another. “God bless kids like this and may more out there come.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking