PITTSBURGH - One 13-year-old boy's random and simple act of kindness Friday night at PNC Park proved that some kids still understand the importance of helping others and not being selfish all the time.
My wife and I were eating chicken nachos on the concourse during the Pirates' game against the Houston Astros when a neat little scene played out a few feet in front of us.
A middle-aged gentleman in a wheelchair asked a kid wearing a red Jason Bay jersey sitting nearby if he would go get him a cup of ice on the sweltering, muggy evening. He then told the young boy, Travis Wolfe of Steubenville, Ohio, that he would give him a dollar for his trouble.
Travis shook his head and declined to take the money, then went and got the cup of ice.
When he returned with the ice, the man in the wheelchair, Matt Stumm, again offered to give the boy some money for his efforts.
Again Travis declined, even as Stumm tried several times to get him to take the money. It appeared reading Travis' lips that he said, "It's OK."
"He wouldn't take the money," Stumm, who was visiting Pittsburgh from Hartford, Conn., said with a big smile. "That impressed me even more [than going to get the ice]."
Stumm went on for a minute talking about how nice it was to see Travis be so helpful. He also mentioned that if he could find the boy's parents he would say, "Here's $10, put it toward his college fund."
Travis wasn't seeking any attention for his act of kindness. He had no clue anyone was watching, especially a newspaper reporter who just so happened to be standing nearby.
There are, unfortunately, many kids in this world who think only of themselves and wouldn't have bothered to help Stumm or wouldn't have thought twice about taking the money, albeit a small amount.
It was very impressive to see Travis be so gracious in his own small way on both accounts.
The young lad and his friend, Nick Ivkovich, 13, were stunned when I came up to talk to them and mentioned that I wanted to write about what had happened. They looked at each other with big smiles on their faces, posed for a picture and then took me to talk to Travis' mom.
"You try to raise your kid the right way," said Lori Wolfe, who wore a proud smile when told of her son's subtle generosity.
It wasn't some grand gesture that will be remembered forever by many people. But life is all about little things, and kids need to learn that the little things they do - or don't do - have an impact on other people's lives.
Simply by turning down $1, Travis Wolfe gave a stranger from Connecticut a priceless memory that will last a long time.
Good job, young man.
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.