Sports stars get a lot of bad press when they act poorly. Drunken rages, interpersonal violence, rampant promiscuity — these are the types of scandals that light up headlines.
Yet not every athlete is a privileged thug bent on harming himself, herself, or someone else. Some go the extra mile for others.
And you know what? When professional athletes turn their talents from the field to the streets and interact with the hoi polloi, the results can be breathtaking.
Just look at Aaron Jones, running back for the Green Bay Packers. Though not necessarily the best-compensated player in the NFL, Over the Cap reports that he currently has a $2.6 million contract with his team.
In other words, he a player who could enjoy the perks of his position. Yet when he saw an elderly woman in need, he stopped to help in the most humble way possible.
According to the El Paso Times, Jones was in Wisconsin’s Appleton International Airport on May 28 when he encountered an elderly woman in a wheelchair. None of the airport’s staff had shown up to transport her.
Jones could’ve ignored her or tracked down a nearby terminal worker to handle the problem. But instead, he grabbed the lady’s wheelchair and took over himself.
Paul George, the one-time small forward for the Indiana Pacers, himself helped a wheelchair-bound girl in 2015. KTRK reported that the NBA star discovered that the girl was a fan and needed a wheelchair-accessible van.
An unknown donor had promised to match every donation up to $6,000. But George did that one better by dropping a cool ten grand for the vehicle.
Alex Ovechkin, NHL player and captain of the Washington Capitals, hasn’t forked over big bucks or bent his back to help someone in need of locomotion. But his spontaneous act of kindness to a handicapped child is enough to make you start reaching for the tissues.
While playing against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 28, Ovechkin and his teammates were coming into the locker room off of the ice. Seated by a doorway was Aneela Ali’s young son.
If you glanced at the kid, you’d think he was just another boy excited to get up close and personal with a bunch of real-life hockey players. But look a second time, and you’d notice the wheelchair he’s confined to.
Aydin’s happy moment! pic.twitter.com/uSm6Azhabf
— Aneela Ali (@Aneelaaali) October 30, 2018
CBS Sports linked to a video showing the boy bumping fists with players as they pass him. Some ignore him, some half-heartedly tap him with their gloves, and some rub knuckles in a good-natured way.
Then Stanley Cup-winning Ovechkin appears. He’s looking the other way, but when he sees Ali’s son, he hesitates and smiles.
That’s when he hands the kid his hockey stick, and the grin that breaks over the young boy’s face is like the sudden rising of the morning sun.
“That’s my son,” Ali later tweeted. “Ovi made his day, and he will never forget that moment.”
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