Pay It Forward

[Suck Creek Mountain]

Today, Sio and I went to a Chattanooga Lookouts game at the new (to me) BellSouth Stadium. The Lookouts took on the Jacksonville Sun, and lost. That, though, isn’t the part of the day worth retelling.

We got to the stadium early — hat front row seats for a midday game — and watched the players stretching and throwing, preparing for the game. We had some obnoxious kids sitting one section over from us, and all they did all day was yell at the players, calling them names, and then asking for baseballs, bats, helmets, etc. Pretty ugly from my perspective. They appeared to be there with their grandfather, and he was doing nothing to reel them in. I go through a whole year without hearing as many racial slurs as I heard from those two kids during the game. And they only stayed until the fourth inning! 🙂

Midway through the game, the Lookouts first baseman, Travis Wilson (#41), caught an inning ending foul ball ten feet in front of us, and tossed it to us… much to the dismay of the redneck kids one section down. Proof to me that quiet and cute (as Sio is) works much better than obnoxious and loud (as those kids were). That was Sio’s first game ball (mine too!) and she was thrilled!

A couple of innings later a foul ball was hit our way, between us and a group of guys watching the game. Sio ambled up for the ball nonchalantly, as did one of that group. Sio basically let him have that ball, but his buddies chided him into tossing it to Sio. Two game balls! That was thrilling for both of us.

As we started to leave after the game, Sio asked where the second ball was. I pulled it out of my camera bag, and gave it to her. She promptly walked over to the fan that threw her the ball, and gave it to him. She told him that he really deserved it. He tried to have her keep it, but she insisted. I think he and I both were bowled over at the generosity of my child. We talked for a bit, and he introduced himself as Chris Thompson.

Sio contends that him giving it to her in the first place was one of the nicest things a stranger has done for her, and she felt like that should be rewarded. She says that “you just don’t see that kind of kindness in the world anymore.” Such profound wisdom from the mind of a ten-year-old.

Chris, wherever you are, enjoy your baseball. We both saw something very special today. Pay it forward.