Heading into his second season as the starting guard for the Chicago Bears, Kyle Long is showing he is more than just a Pro Bowl offensive lineman. Last month, Frank Oyston started a Twitter conversation with Long and detailed how his nine-year-old son Andrew had been bullied on the school bus lately. Long immediately responded with “Hey, I’ll come ride the bus with him.”
Oyston had no expectations of this coming true or of even meeting Long, though that is exactly what happened.
On Saturday, the Oystons were having a birthday party for Andrew’s younger sister at Chuck-E-Cheese in Huntley, Ill. and Long made his appearance. According to Oyston, Long hung out at the party for a few hours and met the family back at their home. He then played catch and took pictures with the kids for a while. Long was posting pictures of the day on his Twitter account throughout, which showed the pure joy on Andrew’s face.
This story was not a PR stunt by Long, but instead a genuine act to make a young fan’s life better, if only for one day. Stories like this one are becoming more and more prevalent as social media is making it easier for fans and everyday people to interact with their favorite professional athletes. The athletes who actually respond to these messages are few and far in between, and those who actually take time from their schedule to interact with their fans are even rarer still.
Long won’t ask for it, though he needs to be applauded for his actions in the hopes that more athletes are encouraged to follow his lead. During a time when stories of racial discrimination and questionable behavior by athletes are dominating the news feeds, it is refreshing to hear of a guy taking just a few hours from his day to brighten the life of a deserving fan.
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