Monday, January 9, 2017

Media kindness brings tears of joy

Television station FOX5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, has a group of employees called the Surprise Squad. They go into action when someone deserves recognition, and they were busy last fall. That's when Daniel Rivas, 17, tried to get a date for the Shadow Ridge High School homecoming dance. Nobody accepted his invitation, perhaps because he has Down syndrome? Then a 10th grader named Kylie Fronius invited him to the dance. He accepted. Kylie said she didn't ask him out of pity, but because she expected to have a wonderful time. She doesn't see him as disabled, but only as "learning in a different way." When the FOX5 Surprise Squad heard that, they made sure it was an evening the kids would never forget.

Kylie had just arrived at Daniel's home to pick him up for the dance when the Surprise Squad arrived with TV cameras. Kylie would not need to drive. The couple would go to the dance in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, and on the way, they stopped at Bistro 57 for a supper of Daniel's favorite food, spaghetti. Daniel's mom, Tonya, wept as she remembered how often they'd driven past the restaurant but "couldn't afford to eat there." When they arrived at the high school, a red carpet had been stretched to the curb and other students were on both sides, cheering. But the Surprise Squad wasn't done yet. During the evening, FOX5 interrupted  the dance to announce that both Kylie's family and Daniel's family would enjoy free vacations at Disneyland. Then the owner of the local Nissan dealership gave Daniel $10,000 for his continuing education after high school (he wants to be a chef). Finally, the owner led everyone outside to the school parking lot and showed Kylie a  beautiful Sentra wrapped with a bow. "It's yours," he said, as she burst into tears. Everyone agreed it was the best homecoming dance ever, all because of one act of kindness.

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