SEATTLE, WA (Seattle Medium) — It has been said the sports has the power to create change and to unite people in ways that little else does. Such is the case with a chance encounter between two young boys at the Seattle Seahawks preseason game against the Oakland Raiders last Thursday at CenturyLink Field.
8 year-old Donovan Shaw, who was attending the game with other members of his junior football team – the Benson Bruins, displayed an act of compassion that is making its way through social media. During the game, Donovan witnessed a young boy wandering aimlessly in the stands below him waiting on his father to arrive and share the experience of attending a pro football game. Soon the event staff tried to assure the child that all will be ok, but the young boy still felt a tinge of despair.
Donovan, who was soaking up the experience of being at a pro football game himself, could not help but see the sadness in the young boy and not act. He immediately jumped to his feet, walked down a few stairs and invited the young boy to sit with his group until his father arrived.
The young boy appreciatively accepted and sat with Donovan and had a ball. Donovan put his arms around him and comforted the young boy, explaining the game and answering questions.
The gesture, according to Donovan, was an innocent act of compassion that he did without hesitation.
“I saw him and just felt sorry for him,” says Donovan. “So, I asked him to sit down because I wanted him to feel better.”
“He didn’t know which one Russell Wilson was, so I showed him where Wilson was and other players,” Donovan continued. “I told him it was going to be ok because you should help people when they’re sad.”
Chelsea Burke, a Seahawks fan sitting behind Donovan’s team, witnessed the interaction and was so moved by what she saw that she shared the moment on social media.
“You’re so used to seeing the worst of people plastered everywhere, that it was so refreshing to see the innocence and sweet compassion that we’re able to instill in our children if we try hard enough,” stated Burke in her post about the interaction.
Burke’s social media post become so popular that Donovan became an overnight sensation, and his act of compassion is being reciprocated. He’s been invited by the Seahawks to another game as an honoree, the media wants to highlight him, the community appreciates him and deservedly so as Donovan is a bit surprised by all the attention.
“It is just in him, he wasn’t even aware of what he did,” said his grandmother, Joyce Clark. “He just did it because it’s in his heart.”
Donovan, a third grader at Bryn Mawr Elementary School, is not unlike other 8 year-olds. He goes to school, plays video games, wrestles with his older brother, dreams about and plays football and other sports, and tries as best he can to figure out the world he lives in.
His mother, Dana Clark, has done well in raising a positive example of what is right within us as a people, culture, society and the moral values we hold dear that bind us in peace as a human family. And it’s obvious the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree.
“Donovan used to ask me, ‘why did you speak to her, why did you speak to him, you don’t know him,’” explains Clark.
“It does not cost you anything to be nice to someone as a matter of fact it will make you feel good to make other people feel good,” she would reply.
Through his heartfelt kindness, Donovan has, in only the way a child can, given us a glimpse of what humanity can aspire to be. He lived that moment by example. In an environment centered on the controlled administration of violence, money, politics and entertainment, under the guise of sports, two young boys provided us a glimpse of peace, hope, unity and compassion toward your fellow man as if the two boys were flowers growing out of concrete.
His mother is equally surprised by all the attention, but says that she is not surprised by Donovan’s actions.
“It’s overwhelming, the wonderful comments, the tears, my friends, family, it’s amazing to see how people are warming and welcoming the moment that was captured and that’s just Donovan, he is a loving person,” says Dana Clark
For Burke, it is a moment that she will not forget, and one that she hopes will inspire others to follow Donovan’s lead.
“This world needs a lot more love in it and our kids are just the beginning,” said Burke.
Thank you, Donovan Shaw.
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Chris B. Bennett