What would you do if you found yourself with an extra ticket to a big game? Most people would immediately post it for sale or give it to a friend. But when Ernest Freeman realized he had an extra ticket, he was inspired to do something stunning after hearing a heartwarming song on the radio.
I had an extra ticket for the game on Christmas I was originally going to sell until I listened to “Give Love on Christmas Day” by Johnny Gill. In the song there’s a line about giving love to the ‘man on the street’ which gave me an idea. Instead of selling the ticket I invited ‘a man on the street’ to the game.”
And that is when he knew just who to give it to. A man who had been living on the streets for years was well-known in the community, and Freeman knew he would appreciate the gesture.
This is Ricky aka Stretch as he’s known on the streets of Pittsburgh. He’s 43 years old and has been in The Burgh his entire life but had never been to a game. He and his friends on the street look out for one another; one of his friends was able to take his backpack and other belongings until the game was over.”
He told me he’s lost 12 friends this year to heroin overdoses and a few other tough stories. I offered to buy him anything he wanted during the game and he never once asked for anything, nor did he accept any offers of food or money after the game. He told me the gift of being invited inside the stadium to watch the game was the best Christmas gift ever for him. The look on his face during the game was something I’ll never forget because it reminded me of my own blessings. It also reminded me of what this day is all about in that the ability to give is a blessing in itself. I saw this as a way to remind us all to give, to give back and/or make a difference when and where we can. Merry Christmas!”
The story has people everywhere (even Bengals and Raiders fans!) have chimed in to say that this was the best thing he could have done with his extra ticket. Ricky wasn’t looking to take advantage, he just wanted to enjoy the moment and watch his favorite team play inside of the big stadium.
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