PHOENIX -- As we come to the end of one year and look toward another, we’ve had a tragic reminder out of Connecticut how important acts of kindness and human compassion can be. With that in mind, I’m thankful this season for the chance to have shared one of my favorite stories of the year.
Queen Creek High School is like any other across the country. There are cliques and the typical high school hierarchy that we’re all used to. But when we heard in October that some football players had befriended a special needs student, and that had changed her entire high school experience, our hard-news hearts simply melted.
It was a family member of one of the football players that contacted us here at 3TV to tell us about that special relationship between the teens. He thought it was newsworthy, and we agreed.
The thing is, the kids involved disagreed. They were happy to speak with us, of course, but when I sat down with football players Carson Jones and Tucker Workman they had that shrugging, teenage boy response. They said that they started hanging out with Chy Johnson, a sophomore with a brain disorder, because her mother had asked them to keep an eye out for her. They said they’d come to love Chy, she was their biggest fan and most dedicated friend. But what they did for her was no big deal. They didn’t deserve any special attention.
But they got it from Chy. She couldn’t love them more, and her parents praised them for single-handedly stopping the bullying that Chy came to expect every day at school.
Through sharing their story, special attention for their seemingly simple act came from across the world. ESPN, CNN, The Huffington Post. Countless outlets have continued to share what these teens and the football team did and praised them for that small act that made such a huge difference. It’s been amazing to watch the outpouring of comments and emails congratulating the boys. Random strangers from halfway across the country have asked that we pass on words of appreciation to the football team and their families.
At the end of the season, Chy and her ‘guys’ on the football team put the cherry on top of an incredible year with the 3A State Championship.
No one deserves it more, and this year, I feel so grateful to have met these amazing teens, and the honor of helping spread the news of their good deed to many others.
May we remember how much impact a small positive action can have as we start 2013!
Editor's note: In azfamily.com's 2012 Year in Review piece about the biggest headlines of the year, voters have hands-down (as of Dec. 31) chosen the story of Chy and her guys as the one that had the biggest impact on our community.