It all started with a simple tweet when Calgary Flames fan Jess Taylor put out a message about taking her British grandmother to her very first hockey game in the city.
And from that one message on Twitter snowballed a classic Canadian reaction of generosity to create the best first-time experience anyone could ask for.
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Taylor and her grandmother Pamela Dawber, a.k.a. Grandma Pam, share a special bond that crosses continents. While Taylor grew up in Calgary and Dawber across the pond in England, the pair always make sure to never miss their Sunday video chats. And during those calls, Grandma Pam constantly thought about one thing.
“I kept thinking, ‘I wonder what it is about about these Flames,'” Dawber said. “I want to get to… (a game) one of these days.”
With travel ramping up around the world, the family reunited in Calgary to celebrate Dawber’s 70th birthday. Taylor saw her chance to get her into the arena she had been so curious about.
With one goal in mind, Taylor put out a tweet hoping to find lower-level tickets to a Flames game, not wanting her grandma to face the long, steep hike to the press level.
She was shocked by the response.
“I probably got close to like 50 DMs (direct messages) of people saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got season tickets lower down, I’ll sell them for $150 total so that you can take your grandma. I want you to have a great experience,'” Taylor said.
“People just saying, ‘Hey, I don’t have seats, but I hope you have a great time.’ And people from England saying (they’re) so excited that we have an English representative at the (Saddle)dome for Tuesday… and that was really, really special.”
When game-time arrived, it was a Flames employee who saved the day and gifted Taylor a pair of tickets for Tuesday night so Grandma Pam could get the “full Saddledome experience,” a touching sight for Taylor, a die-hard Flames fan.
“I feel like I spent more of the game watching Grandma watch the game than I did actually watching the game myself,” she said.
The generosity of Canadians looking to help offer the best hockey experience was overwhelming for Dawber.
“I nearly cried,” she said.
“I thought that the people of Calgary were so nice, so lovely. I was just really touched.”
While she was touched, Dawber took no time in getting involved in the game before her.
“I said to Jess, ‘Why are they not stopping the fight?’ I said, ‘Why is the referee still? Just do something!’ And she’s laughing because I’ve never seen that before,” Dawber recalled.
“It was like watching a child in a candy store, you know, like everything was new,” Taylor laughed. “She was taking it in and asking questions.
“She was just so invested, like leaning forward, getting into the chants and it was like, this is incredible because this is my life and I got to share it with her so it’s really incredible.”
At the end of the night, Dawber saw everything but a win but added she wouldn’t trade seeing this part of her granddaughter’s world for anything.
“I absolutely loved it,” Dawber said. “I love the atmosphere, the game, the music and being with Jess — everything.”
When she returns to England next week, there will be one more fan to fly the flaming C.