Man who gave kid ball at Brewers game: 'Wasn't that big of a deal'
Photo: Image by The Arena Update
CREATED Aug. 7, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The guy whose random act of baseball kindness at a Milwaukee Brewers game says that what he did for a five-year-old child and his family was nothing more than "a small thing."
Even if a family, an entire community of baseball fans and others touched by the story disagree.
"I thought it wasn't that big of a deal," Chad McLaughlin told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" on Wednesday morning about giving young Isaiah Kooiman a baseball after several failed attempts to get them after players' warmups.
Chad, who lives in Sussex, understands kids through his job. He works at a local elementary school.
His experience with the Kooiman family started with a slight accident while he was sitting in his seat at the game.
"I got a little bump behind me, turned around and there was a cute family of kids just getting settled in...they were good kids, well behaved, no problems during the game...they were just a great family."
The oldest of the three Kooiman kids, five-year-old Isaiah, wanted a baseball, so Chad took him near their seats to the dugout where players would occasionally throw balls from warmups to kids.
They tried often, but failed.
"Every time we came up without a ball, there was more disappointment on his face. I just couldn't stand it, said Chad. He experienced such disappointment as a kid.
"What happened with me when I was younger, at County Stadium, a family friend sitting next to him. The Brewers were playing the Cubs. Sammy Sosa was in right field. After warmups, you throw the ball up, I never got it. I had my glove ready every single time. I know how the little kid felt."
So, he did something about it, buying a ball during the latter stage of Sunday's game.
"I thought it wasn't that big of a deal, because I thought he would have like a ball off the field more. This one was just from the gift shop...apparently, it is (a big deal)."
It first became a big deal to Isaiah, and to his mom Sarah.
"His face...just looking at the ball, his mom took a picture right away."
One thing his mom failed to do was get Chad's name. So, she took to the Internet and wrote an extensive, emotional blog thanking him, but also trying to find him and give a more personal thank you.
It went viral. It led to Sarah finally identifying Chad and reaching out to him.
He refused her family's request to even offer coffee or lunch.
Chad said he was "honored" that people would praise such a random act of kindness, but to him, "it's just a baseball."
"It bothers me that something so small was such a big deal when it should be more common in everyday society."