Everyday Angels

When Cam gave the ball away, young boy shares with another

Dylan Deluca, with grandfather Dean Oliver, at the Panthers final regular game of the 2015 season. When the Cam Newton scored and gave football to the boy in front of Dylan, he offered the ball to Dylan so he could hold it and pose for a picture.
Dylan Deluca, with grandfather Dean Oliver, at the Panthers final regular game of the 2015 season. When the Cam Newton scored and gave football to the boy in front of Dylan, he offered the ball to Dylan so he could hold it and pose for a picture. Courtesy of: Renee Harton Oliver

Kids can really surprise you sometimes. Especially boys. Sticks and snails and puppy dog tails and not an ounce of concern about anything but playtime and sports. And then somewhere in that playful soul, a great big heart peeks through.

This story is about two boys whose paths crossed for a brief moment in time, when the stars aligned.

A short background on one: My 9-year-old grandson, Dylan Deluca, is the ultimate Cam Newton/Panthers fan. He has several Cam posters and faithfully follows each game, knows all the players by name and position, but had only been to one game in his nine years.

Now the story begins. First act of kindness: In October, my cousin, Jack Harton, who I have not seen in many years, offered my husband, Dean, and me tickets to the last Panthers game of the season. And the most awesome thing was that they were on the second row in the corner end zone!

Fast forward to Tuesday before Thanksgiving: Dylan’s paternal grandmother had passed away unexpectedly. Needless to say, our families were shocked and very sad. The holidays this year were going to be terribly bittersweet. Dylan loved her a lot and misses her dearly.

Fast forward again to Christmas My husband and I decided to brighten Dylan’s Christmas by giving him one of the Panthers tickets.

He got busy making posters and planning for the big game. In the meantime, an unfortunate loss to Atlanta turned into a fortunate opportunity for our Dylan – Cam Newton and starters were going to be playing in the last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! Adrenaline just got a lot higher! Stars aligned...

Game time. We knew there was a remote possibility that Dylan would be in position to get a game ball. But we all know that the chance is one in a million, “like winning the lottery,” we teased. However, Dylan faithfully positioned himself for the opportunity, waving his posters and shouting “SuperCam!”

Third quarter. The Panthers offense had worked their way down to within yards of the goal line. I was watching the television at home and looking for Dylan and his PaPa on the screen. Could it be? Could this possibly happen? Cam scores!

And he proceeds to walk directly toward the corner section where Dylan was sitting – I was about to faint – and then I watched Cam hand the ball to the boy sitting in front of Dylan.

It was a strange feeling. I was so excited for this child and yet a little sad for Dylan. Then I received a message on my phone from my son, who said he got a great video shot of the whole thing. But most important, the young man and his family had kindly offered to let Dylan hold the ball and make some pictures! Kindness prevails. Stars aligned ...

A big shout-out to the following:

Jack Harton –for the awesome tickets.

My husband – for taking Dylan to the game.

Carolina Panthers – for losing to Atlanta and playing starters in the last game.

Cam Newton –for giving the ball to the boy in front of Dylan.

Young man in the front – for making another kid’s day in a BIG way!

And to Dylan –for just being lovable you.

It was all just proof that little boys do have big hearts.

Renee Harton Oliver, Concord

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Did a stranger step in to offer you help out of the blue? Email rwilkerson@charlotteobserver.com. Include name, hometown and daytime number. Or mail Everyday Angels, Charlotte Observer, 600 S. Tryon, Charlotte, NC 28230. Roland Wilkerson

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