Strangers buy teen a new Maple Leafs jersey after man swipes his giveaway prize
A 15-year-old boy attending his first ever Toronto Maple Leafs game was left stunned, delighted and with a brand new $300 Auston Matthews jersey in hand last week after two random strangers witnessed him fall victim to a mean and greedy act.
Hayden Pixner of Kitchener, Ont., had been attending the NHL game at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena on Feb. 11 with his dad when a Maple Leafs ambassador started throwing free swag up into the stands — an exciting moment for any kid (and most adults, too.)
"He was tossing hats, t-shirts and jerseys to the people cheering the loudest," wrote Hayden's dad, Greg Pixner, of the ambassador in a lengthy Facebook post published on Wednesday.
"Hayden was really cheering loud and the ambassador noticed him. He pointed to Hayden with one hand and shook the jersey in his other hand to let Hayden and everybody around us know that he was giving the jersey to him."
Greg says that, while the Leafs staffer made "a perfect toss to Hayden," his son didn't get the jersey.
"Before he could catch it, the man in the row behind us reached in front of him and took it," wrote Greg. "I turned around and said, 'That was meant for him. He pointed right at him.'"
In an age of social media it would have been easy enough to expose the man behind the incident but as @Ginella_M reports, these two Good Samaritans instead chose to lead by example. https://t.co/71jyCASxko— CityNews Toronto (@CityNews) February 15, 2020
The man allegedly said that Hayden didn't deserve the jersey because he wasn't a kid. When the boy's father pointed out that Hayden was, in fact, only 15, and that the jersey was clearly meant for him, the man replied 'Too bad, I caught it.'"
People sitting around the father-son duo were horrified by the actions of the man who grabbed the jersey, but Greg says he didn't seem to care.
Hayden went on enjoying the game, but at least two of the fellow hockey fans who saw what happened to him couldn't do the same.
Greg says that, about 15 minutes after the initial incident, a man made his way up to the row they were sitting in and handed Hayden a Leafs jersey.
"He said, 'You deserve this. That jersey (as he pointed to the guy behind us) was supposed to be yours before this idiot stole it from you,'" wrote Greg.
Touching video footage of this very moment was later shared by City News on Facebook.
"Hayden and I both thanked him as he left our area," wrote Greg of the stranger who'd handed his son a jersey. "[Hayden] could not believe the kindness of this man. For the rest of the third period he kept saying, WOW, WOW. I was looking around to try to find him, but with no luck."
Some observers thought the jersey gifters might work for the Maple Leafs, but this wasn't the case.
Greg says that, as the crowds were clearing out and he looked to find the mystery gifter, he saw three men waving at him from a private booth and cheering for Hayden.
"It was the guys that gave Hayden the jersey. They came down and told us that they saw what had happened and immediately knew they had to do something," explained Greg in his post.
"They went out to the souvenir stand and bought an official Auston Mathews jersey ($300) to give to Hayden."
More than 16,000 people have since commented to applaud the kind men, later identified as Winmar employees Alex Mancilla and Randy Shea, for their gesture.
As for the man who stole the initial jersey out of Hayden's grasp, some of the more than 100 commenters on Greg's original post have less-than-polite words.
"Karma's a bitch and what goes around comes around," wrote one. "Sorry Hayden had to go through a bad situation, but on the bright side he was able to learn the lesson of kindness and doing what's right by these amazing individuals!"
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