11. No Tip Required
Karl Malone was a National Basketball Association great who played for the Utah Jazz in the late 1980s and 1990s. In the baggage-claim area of the Salt Lake City airport, a woman saw him and thought that he was a skycap and asked him to carry her bags for her. Mr. Malone could have responded with attitude, but he responded with kindness and carried her bags for her. Only when she offered him a tip did he decline it and tell her who he was. Salt Lake Tribune sports reporter Steve Luhm confirmed this story to journalist Bob Greene.
12. “I Thought It was a Great Opportunity to Help Someone in Need, to Do Something that Christ would Do”
In 2004, Kim Hughes, an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, needed prostate surgery. He said, “My doctor told me he would do the surgery in a couple of months and then I’d be off my feet for a couple of months. He said, ‘You know this is major surgery.’” Mr. Hughes wanted the surgery done earlier so that he would be able to work for the Clippers during the basketball season—he doesn’t like to take time off from work. Mike Dunleavy, then the Clippers head coach, suggested that Mr. Hughes consult a doctor he knew and see if the surgery could be done quicker. He did, and it could. But Mr. Hughes ran into a problem. He said, “I contacted the Clippers about medical coverage and they said the surgery wouldn’t be covered. I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And they said if they did it for one person, they’d have to do for everybody else.” Mr. Dunleavy mentioned this to the Clippers players, several of whom—including Corey Maggette, Elton Brand, Marko Jaric, and Chris Kaman—came forward and paid for the surgery. In 2011, Mr. Maggette said, “Kim was one of our coaches, and he’s a really good friend of mine. He was in a situation where the Clippers’ medical coverage wouldn’t cover his surgery. I thought it was a great opportunity to help someone in need, to do something that Christ would do. It shows your humanity, that you care for other people and not just yourself. Kim was in a life-and-death situation.” Good thing. Mr. Hughes’ prostate cancer was much more advanced than he and his doctor had thought—it was on the verge of spreading to the rest of his body. Mr. Hughes said, “Those guys saved my life. They paid the whole medical bill. It was like $70,000 or more. It wasn’t cheap. It showed you what classy people they are. They didn’t want me talking about it; they didn’t want the recognition because they simply felt it was the right thing to do.” Mr. Maggette said, “Kim thanks me every time he sees me; he does that every single time. I’ve said to him, ‘Kim, come on. You don’t have to do that. You’re good. It just shows you what kind of person he is, to keep thanking me all the time for that. Like I said, it was just my time to serve another human being. I think if anyone on my team is in that kind of situation, I would try to help him out if I could. That’s just the person I am. I was raised that way.” Mr. Hughes said about Mr. Maggette, “Corey is perceived by some people as not being a good person because he seems to be aloof and arrogant. But they don’t know him. He’s a good man; he’s a great man. You can have all the money, all the success, all that stuff, all those so-called important things in life, but in the end, you’re judged by what you did for your fellow man. Corey will always be an important part of my life. What he and those other guys did for me put things in perspective.”
13. The Good News is that He Hit Three Home Runs; The Bad News is that He Lost His Wallet
On 9 September 2012, Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton hit three home runs as the Rays defeated the Texas Rangers, 6-0. He also lost his wallet. Fortunately, Rays fan Brent Sutton found it and contacted Mr. Upton through Twitter. They met, and Mr. Upton got his wallet back and gave Mr. Sutton a genuine B.J. Upton baseball bat. Business Insider sports columnist Jeff Greenwell wrote, “See kids, honesty is the best policy. Nice to see Twitter being used for good instead of what its [sic] normally used for—as an outlet for passive-aggressive grammar Nazis.”
14. “Nobody’s Perfect. Everybody’s Human. I Understand”
On 2 June 2010 at Comiskey Park in Detroit, Michigan, umpire Jim Joyce made a bad call when he called a runner safe at first base and ruined what would have been a perfect game—27 bats, 27 outs, no one reaching base—for Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. Mr. Galarraga got the next player out for a near-perfect game (28 bats, 27 outs, one player reaching base). Both Mr. Joyce and Mr. Galarraga showed good sportsmanship following the bad call. After seeing a replay of the bad call, Mr. Joyce admitted that he had made a mistake and he apologized in person to Mr. Galarraga. Mr. Galarraga showed good sportsmanship by forgiving Mr. Joyce for the mistake. Mr. Galarraga told reporters after the game that Mr. Joyce “probably feels more bad than me. Nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s human. I understand. I give the guy a lot of credit for saying, ‘I need to talk to you.’ You don’t see an umpire tell you that after a game. I gave him a hug.” He added, “I know that I pitched a perfect game, I believe I got it. I said before, I got a perfect game. I’m going to show my son. Maybe it’s not in the book, but I’m going to tell my son, ‘One time I got a perfect game.’” Mr. Joyce, a 22-year veteran umpire, said after the game, “I did not get the call correct.” He said that he “took a perfect game away from that kid over there that worked his [*]ss off all night.” At the game the following day, Mr. Galarraga took the Tigers’ line-up card to Mr. Joyce at home plate. The two men shook hands.
15. Veteran MLB Umpire Jim Joyce Saves a Life
On 20 August 2012 about 20 minutes before a Marlins-Diamondbacks major-league baseball game at Chase Field in Arizona, veteran umpire Jim Joyce, age 56, saved a life. A game-day employee named Jayne Powers suffered a seizure, and her heart stopped beating. Mr. Joyce used CPR to keep her alive. He said, “It was non-normal. I don’t know what word to put on it. It’s obviously never happened to me before.” Russ Amaral, vice-president for Chase Field operations and facilities management, said the next day, “We’re thrilled that she’s doing well today. And we’re grateful to those who were there to help.” Since 1 March 1998, Ms. Powers has worked in concessions for the Diamondbacks. Mr. Joyce and other umpires saw her suffering from a seizure, and Mr. Joyce made sure that her head was protected. But something was wrong, and he had to use CPR to keep her alive. He said, “I’ve had to use CPR before. This is something everybody should know. Everybody should know what to do in a circumstance like that. It’s not a hard thing. You don’t need a degree. It’s very simple, and very easy.” Paramedics arrived and took Ms. Powers to a hospital. After all the excitement of the rescue, the other coaches suggested changing duties if Mr. Joyce did not want to be behind the home plate, but he declined. He explained, “It was very emotional, I’ll be honest with you. But I didn’t want to go to third base because just standing there, literally, [the incident] is all I would have thought about all night. I wouldn’t have been able to think about anything else. Going behind the plate, I would have something to do every minute. I could just do my job. But I’ll be honest with you, there were still times during the game that I was thinking about it.” Mr. Joyce’s daughter is in EMT school and his son is certified in CPR. Mr. Joyce said about CPR, “Just knowing it, I think it’s imperative. You may never, ever, have to use it. But it’s just that one time that you do.”