SEATTLE – Spoiler alert: This story starts off awesome, and gets dramatically better from there.
It begins with Daniel, an 11-year-old boy with one hand who lives in California and plays football.
Daniel grew up a San Francisco 49ers fan, but started rooting for the Seattle Seahawks after they drafted Shaquem Griffin. Griffin instantly became a hero for lots of kids who are missing limbs when he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round of April’s NFL draft.
Life had already been pretty exciting the last couple weeks, because Daniel went viral after a video circulated of him becoming understandably emotional when a family friend gave him a Shaquem jersey for his birthday.
“That’s what I heard a lot is how emotional it made a lot of people,” Daniel’s mom, Maylissa, told Q13 News. “I still watch it, and I still cry.”
The video was shared thousands of times, and eventually ended up on a Facebook page for Seahawks fans.
This is where things get even better.
A Seahawks fan named Justin Smith saw the video. Smith was traveling to London last week to watch the Seahawks play the Oakland Raiders, and he just happened to have a pass to the "family and friends" area where players sometimes end up after games.
Sure enough, Shaquem came out – and Justin showed him Daniel’s video. The Griffin brothers’ mom happened to be there as well, and Justin shot a new video of her and Shaquem growing emotional watching Daniel’s video.
There was only one way for Shaquem to respond: A video of his own. He shot a video for Daniel, wishing him a happy birthday and said Daniel's video was “very touching.”
The circle was complete with one final video: Daniel watching Shaquem’s video.
Daniel and his family are planning to come to Seattle to watch Shaquem and the Seahawks play the 49ers on Dec. 2.
“Just because you have a hand difference doesn’t make you different,” Maylissa said. “You may look a little different. But this kid, if you watched him play football, this kid is pretty awesome.”