National News

Fans witness extraordinary gesture at local homecoming game

Posted October 27, 2017 1:02 p.m. EDT

— Shad Murphy knows what it's like to overcome challenges. The senior lineman has been battling cystic fibrosis since he was four years old.

So when he was named homecoming king at Dover High School, he knew there was someone else who deserved it more.

"I don't know exactly what he's going through, and he doesn't know what I'm going through," explained Murphy. "But struggle has just been there for both of us."

Shad gave the crown to Michael Wolfgang, a Dover student who has down syndrome. But Michael also has an uncanny ability to make people happy.

According to fellow students, Michael delivers coffee in the morning to teachers, cheers everybody up and always has a smile on his face.

Junior Grace Beierschmitt was at the homecoming game and captured the emotional moment on video.

"As soon as Shad walked over with his crown and his sash, and he put it right on Michael's head, the whole stadium was just in awe," said Beierschmitt. "Everyone had tears in their eyes, and it was just a really sweet moment to watch."

She added, "With all the bad things that have been happening in the world, this was really like a light in the darkness."

Then a few days later, it was Michael who had a surprise for Shad.

"I get to homeroom and my teacher says 'There's a card for you' and I wondered who it was from," said Murphy.

"I opened it up and it says 'I'm so happy that if I were a monster created by a mad scientist, I'd be Thankenstein.' And then on the inside, it says 'Thank you, Shad, for the best day ever. Your best friend forever, Michael.'"

"And that just changed my day. I wasn't having a bad day, but I was definitely having a better one since I got that."

That card made Shad realize that small acts can have a big impact.

"All I had to do was hand him the crown, which he deserved," said Murphy. "That changed my life. I'll never forget that moment, and I'm sure he won't either."