A Nashville Predators fan says his faith in humanity was restored Thursday night thanks to the heartfelt generousity of two Edmonton Oilers fans.
Christopher Smith was at the Oilers/Predators game in Nashville with his fiancee and two kids from their church. During the first intermission he couldn’t help but notice the younger boy, Zeb, staring at a gold Predators jersey in the program. Smith had given Zeb an old jersey of his to wear to the game, but the young hockey fan didn’t have one of his own.
As it turns out, Smith wasn’t the only one who took notice of Zeb’s affection for the sweater. A few minutes later, two men dressed in Edmonton Oilers jerseys came up to Smith and handed him a child-size gold Predator’s jersey.
“He was sitting two rows behind us and he handed me the jersey and said, ‘every kid should have his first jersey,'” Smith said Friday.
“The look on his face was just priceless. You couldn’t really explain, it he was so excited.”
Smith said Zeb spent the entire second intermission comparing his jersey with Smith’s. And he talked about his new jersey the entire way home.
“He was excited to have a jersey that matched mine and my fiancee’s,” Smith said. “From now on, he’s going to think back about his jersey that he’s going to grow into and remember that night that he got to go to the game. It’s just really a special occasion on all fronts and I want to really truly thank them for stepping out and doing something that they didn’t have to do.”
Derek Todd, who lives in Red Deer, was the man behind the kind gesture. He and his brother Dallas Todd went down to Nashville specifically for the Oilers game.
Derek Todd said he couldn’t help but notice the attention the young fan was giving the jersey in the program.
“He was the one guy that kind of caught my attention, just because he kept looking up at me, not overly impressed that I was cheering for the Oilers against his Predators,” he said with a laugh.
“Seeing a kid that looked like he didn’t have a jersey and that was really interested in that one jersey… I figured he’d remember because I remember my first jersey.”
Todd said he spent about $118 USD on the jersey. But it wasn’t about the money.
“I just did it because it put a smile on a kid’s face,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things as a kid that… you don’t ever forget that stuff.”
He also wasn’t expecting to wake up to so much attention over what he called a small gesture.
“There’s a lot of hate in the world and you know, it’s just small gestures like that where money doesn’t really matter. It’s just about putting a smile on someone’s face. If people did more of that stuff we’d maybe be living in a better world.”
Todd said Smith bought him and his brother a couple of beers before leaving the game. Smith has since reached out to the brothers on Facebook to thank them again for their act of kindness.
“It was really unexpected for somebody to go and spend that type of money. I mean, I’ve seen people buy snacks or little pucks or something like that, but that’s a good chunk of change for one of those,” he said.
“Kind of shows the class that hockey fans have that a lot of other sports really don’t partake in. It was just a really, really cool experience.”
Smith said he also wanted to share his gratitude one more time – and let the brothers know they’ve made an Oilers fan out of him.
“I’ve always liked Edmonton’s franchise. I’ve never had any one-on-one conversations with their fans or negative perception towards them, but just coming into an away building like that and doing something for a kid, from now on I’ll be an Oilers fan if the Predators aren’t playing them.”
Watch below: Two Red Deer brothers are being praised for their kind gesture at the Oilers/Predators game in Nashville Thursday night. Derek Todd and his brother Dallas bought a hockey jersey for a young fan in the crowd, a boy that was a complete stranger to the Alberta men. Emily Mertz has the details.