Louisiana mom of four Danielle Ayo Trahan was excited when her husband Dustin scored two prime seats to the New Orleans Saints' home game against the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago. She had no idea then that those seats would hold more magic than just a great view of the game.
The Trahans arrived at the game early, and soon they found they had two special neighbors in the stands: Baton Rouge brothers Terrion Shaffer, 14, and Jairen Fisher, 8.
Noticing that the boys seemed to be there alone, Trahan asked if they had a parent nearby, and Terrion explained to her that his grandmother had won the tickets at work and given them to his father. His father felt he couldn't bear to leave Jairen out of the experience, so he had arranged to drop them off at the door of the stadium and was waiting at a designated spot for them after the game.
Trahan, a special education inclusion paraprofessional at an elementary school near her home in Maurice, Louisiana, took an interest in the brothers, who seemed in awe of their first NFL game. "The younger one didn't talk as much," she told TODAY Parents, "but he loves football so much he was calling the plays before they could happen."
At halftime, the Trahans figured out the boys did not have money with them for snacks, so they brought them chicken tenders and Sprites when they went for their own refreshments. By the end of the game — happily, a win for their beloved Saints — the four had formed a bond. As they were walking up the stadium steps, Terrion turned around and thanked the Trahans, giving Dustin a big hug.
Afterward, Danielle said she couldn't get the kids out of her mind. She posted a picture she had taken of them celebrating the win on her Facebook page, remarking that they "were the most polite, well-mannered kids" and that she hoped to find them so she could send them the picture to commemorate their first game and the win.
Trahan said she only hoped that maybe some of her Baton Rouge teacher friends would help her share the post and find the brothers, but instead, the internet joined in. Her post had 14,000 shares in the first hour; it has now been shared over 43,000 times.
The joy and wonder on the faces of two young brothers experiencing their first live NFL game and the bond they formed with the Trahans inspired others to want to give them more. Days after the post went viral, local law firm Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers coordinated with Trahan to surprise the boys near their home with two footballs and tickets for the Trahans, the boys and their family for the Saints' home game against the Indianapolis Colts in mid-December. They will also have a chance to go on the field and meet the players and will be treated to $100 for halftime snacks. Dustin's employees also pooled their money to buy the boys Saints jerseys.
Trahan said she has learned several things from her viral experience with the boys that she shared with her own children, who are 21, 16, 7, and 3. "You never know who you are going to meet or what impact they are going to have on your life," she told TODAY Parents. "This also shows how far one social media post can go and how fast — whether it's good or bad. What if I had written something really bad and the whole world saw it?"
And the bottom line, Trahan said, is that it is worth it to be kind. "In this world right now, we are often not nice enough to each other. You never know what a simple act of kindness will bring." Though offers have continued to pour in from around the world to send both the Trahans and the brothers money, tickets, and gifts, Trahan posted on her Facebook page that they appreciate everything, but they have enough.
"I feel like this is more than we could’ve ever dreamed of, and to take any more would be greedy!!" Trahan wrote. "I truly appreciate the offers. I ask that you pay your blessings forward to others in need during this holiday season."