Acts of Kindness
Teen singles out boy with autism at football game and their interaction melts hearts
The kind-hearted football player had no idea his actions would make headlines.
Kate Miano

You never know what impact your actions will have on someone else.

Sometimes the moments we think are small and fleeting make a world of difference to someone else.

Like one high school football player, who thought he was just waving to a fan in the crowd.

Little did he know, he was making someone feel welcome and sparking a lifelong friendship.

At a home game, a high school football player paused during warm-up to take stock of the crowd.

YouTube - News On 6/KOTV
YouTube - News On 6/KOTV

If it’s a home game, you know that most of the people in the stands are rooting for you.

But Hunter Spankowski took special notice of a young boy, named Andrew, in the stands who was jumping up and down and waving.

Unsplash - Tim Mossholder
Unsplash - Tim Mossholder

Although he didn’t think that it was directed at him in particular, Hunter wanted to acknowledge the young fan.

Hunter turned around and smiled at Andrew, showing how appreciative he was that the child was showing so much support.

He even did a little dance in response to Andrew’s excitement.

Hunter’s noticing of Andrew had a big impact on the child.

YouTube - News On 6/KOTV
YouTube - News On 6/KOTV

After Hunter talked to Andrew, the 8-year old got extremely excited.

His mother described Andrew’s reaction to News On 6, saying:

“He turned around and said, ‘Mom did you see that guy? He talked to me. He talked to me, and it was like being the special one picked out of the crowd.'”

YouTube - News On 6/KOTV
YouTube - News On 6/KOTV

Andrew’s autism and cerebral palsy make it hard for him to enjoy crowded, noisy environments.

But Hunter helped soothe him and make the event enjoyable.

Responding the way he did, helped the young child feel safe and welcome, even though he wasn’t used to the environment.

Seeing how happy this moment made Andrew made his mother want to reach out to the teen responsible for it.

Andrew’s mother, Rebecca Dunn, was moved by her son’s happiness.

She felt that the kind teenage football player deserved to know how his actions had helped someone.

She credits this impulse to her maternal instinct:

“It was really very sweet to watch someone else’s kid do something for my kid; that was just one little moment.”

So, like any modern parent, she searched him up on Facebook and sent a message of thanks.

She also sent a photo she took of the moment.

When Hunter found out how much that small gesture meant to Andrew, he wanted to make an even bigger impact.

After learning about how happy Andrew had been because of him, Hunter was inspired to be even kinder.

So he arranged to meet up with Andrew again, and this time he had a gift.

Hunter had a signed helmet from that game that he was going to give to Andrew. He told News on 6:

“If I can do something that little and have that big of an effect, how will something big have an effect on him?”

Thanks to Hunter, Andrew now feels like he has a permanent welcoming home on the football team.

At football games since that first fateful one, Andrew wears his autographed helmet in a show of pride.

And, at the game after Hunter met Andrew, the young boy was welcomed onto the field to stand with the team while they took a photo and encouraged him to feel like he was always welcome.

One small moment in passing turned into a chain reaction that helped give Andrew a sense of belonging.

Learn more about this lovely act in the video below!

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By Kate Miano
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Kate Miano is a contributor at SBLY Media.