She turned around, with her heart beating fast. She looked in every corner, staring at everyone that surrounded her, trying to look for him. Where could he possibly be? Just a few minutes ago, he had been right by her side, but that child could never stay still. She looked up a few bleachers away, and she couldn't believe it. She'd finally found him! But what he was doing and the person he was with totally took her by surprise.
Star Balloon-Bradley never thought she'd ever witness something of this nature, particularly at a football game. And she should know, she'd been to dozens of them. If you live in Valdosta, Georgia, it's kind of hard to not catch some football fever. The Lowndes Vikings are the local high school's football team, and they've won 12 regional championships. They're also 5-time state champions. Star makes sure to attend every home game she can, but she's never alone. Her family is right there with her!
Star and her entire family never miss a Vikings home game, and they even attend a few away games too. Season after season, they're there to cheer them on. They're even familiar with all the players and their stats! In a way, attending these games is a family tradition. But best of all? Their shared love for football allows them to bond with their kids. Star has two kids, and so does her brother, and they all hang together as friends. But one of the kids is sometimes pretty hard to handle.
Isaiah, Star's nephew, is a friendly 4-year-old boy who's loved by everyone. But sometimes, this adorable child can be a handful as he can never stay still! They thought it might be just a phase, or perhaps, this trait is actually part of his personality now. But Isaiah needs to be constantly watched as he has no problem walking away whenever he gets the chance. If you blink for a few seconds, you might find him at the weirdest of places, which is what happened at the last football game.
Last September, the Balloon family were having a blast at a Viking's home game. It was a nerve-wracking game that kept everyone at the edge of their seats. That is, everyone except Isaiah, who wasn't really focused on the game. The event wasn't really crowded, so they were able to keep tabs on him. Suddenly, little Isaiah walked up to a lady who was sitting all by herself. He looked at her, and smiled at her. Then, the unexpected happened.
The little boy started talking to the lady, and his mom was beyond surprised, as he was usually quite shy, particularly when it comes to talking to strangers. Star turned to Thameka Miller, who was Isaiah's mom, and asked her if he had ever met the lady before. Isaiah's mom took one look at her, and said they didn't. “I was skeptical because he did not know her and we didn’t know her," said Thameka. They kept staring at them while they talked.
Isaiah just kept talking to the lady for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, his mom and aunt had no clue what they could've been talking about. Suddenly, it was halftime. The stranger lady told Isaiah that she had to leave, as she was going to meet her daughter. The little boy made his way back to his family while the lady left. Thamika asked the little boy who she was, but he said he didn't know her name. After a while, everyone forgot about it, that is, until two weeks later.
Another home game was taking place, so Star and her family were there as usual. Little Isaiah wasted no time, and made his way towards the bleachers again. The game was even more nerve-wracking and action-packed than the last one, and everyone was focusing on the action. Then suddenly, Star realized her nephew was nowhere to be seen. She looked around, and couldn't find him. Then she looked up, and saw him in the bleachers above them.
Star realized that Isaiah was again, hanging out by the bleachers above them with the same woman from before. Only this time, she couldn't believe what she was seeing. Isaiah was on top of the woman's lap, and his head appeared to be resting on her shoulders. The woman was rocking him to sleep, or so it seemed. Star quickly made her way towards them.
Star felt mortified, and quickly asked the woman if she wanted her to take him back. “I told her tonight that I am so sorry and I don’t know why he keeps bothering her,” she posted on Facebook, but the woman's response would seriously take her by surprise. She told him the little boy was no bother at all. “She said he was her new friend”. But when she explained why having Isaiah in her arms made her so happy, Star was left in shock.
The woman explained that she also had a child of her own, a 15-year-old daughter. And it was moments like the one she had experienced with Isaiah that made her so happy. Star was truly touched, so she left the little boy with the woman until he was done with his nap. The game ended, and he was back with his parents once again, but the special encounter stayed in their minds.
Star realized after a while that she never got the lady's name, but she wanted to tell her how grateful she was for treating her nephew with such kindness. She decided to post a photo of the little boy resting his head over the woman's shoulder, and told everyone what happened. “I hate I didn’t get her name but I will next game because I’m sure Isaiah will make his way back to her,” she posted online. Then, the internet made sure to lend a helping hand.
As you can imagine, the post went instantly viral, and it was shared over 330,000 times. Soon, the lady got hold of the situation and immediately reached out to Star. The mysterious woman is a pastor's wife named Angela During, and she's from Valdosta. She was truly moved by the amount of love and praise she got, and sent out a message to Star, which she shared on Facebook as well.
Angela wrote, “I have been overwhelmed with emotions today as I have read the post Star Balloon-Bradley shared. I am humbled by the kind words everyone has spoken. Isaiah is absolutely adorable! I pray people will see Jesus in all this & know His love is beyond measure & that is how I want to love & live my life. I’m not worthy but He sure is!” Isaiah's family was beyond thrilled to finally know more about their little boy's new friend.
Isaiah's mom, Thameka, said, "Isaiah can come across shy at first, but some people he immediately warms up to, and Mrs. Angela During is one of those persons." Still, she's not surprised about the beautiful story going viral. "I think with the racial tension that has manifested lately this story helps to restore hope in humanity and it shows the power of love. Also the innocence of a child and how love has no color boundaries."