Our Family Was Handed an Anonymous Note at a Baseball Game Last Night—This Is What It Said

Our Family Was Handed an Anonymous Note at a Baseball Game Last Night---This Is What It Said

An unexpected note from a stranger convinced a family that baseball can be a magical game.

Some nights seem destined to turn out one way and then—BOOM—something unexpected happens and you end up having a night you never could’ve imagined. That was my evening last night at Comerica Park in Detroit.

And it was all thanks to the kindness of a stranger who was sitting behind us in section 329, row B—an anonymous friend who helped remind me, even during the drama and fervor surrounding the World Cup, that baseball really might be the most magical game of all.

Here’s what happened—My wife, mother-in-law, and I took my seven-year-old daughter and my two nephews to see the Detroit Tigers face the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was ideal weather for a night game. Our upper box seats gave us a gorgeous panoramic view of the field and the Detroit skyline. It seemed like it was going to be the perfect night for baseball.

And then Justin Verlander gave up five runs to the Dodgers in the first inning.


OK, maybe this won’t be a “perfect” game, but… what? The Tigers got back five runs of their own in the second inning? Crazy. And then calls were overturned by replays, the bases were loaded constantly, the Dodgers were going through pitchers like Spinal Tap went through drummers, and then the Tigers kept scoring almost every inning thereafter until, by the fifth inning, the Tigers were beating the Dodgers 12 to 5. (They’d go on to win the game 14 to 5.)

The turnaround seemed unbelievable. But, little did I know, the evening’s REALLY unbelievable moment would have nothing to do with what was happening on the field.

As the fifth inning drew to a close, a couple in the row behind us tapped me on the shoulder. They said The man sitting next to us told us to give you these after he left.” They handed me a stuffed tiger for my daughter, a souvenir baseball for my youngest nephew, and a note for my wife and I.

This is what it said:Our Family Was Handed an Anonymous Note at a Baseball Game Last Night---This Is What It Said
“Thanks for teaching your kids the greatest game ever.”

And here’s what he bought our kids:Our Family Was Handed an Anonymous Note at a Baseball Game Last Night---This Is What It Said
All of us, parents and kids alike, were completely stunned. “Really?” my daughter asked. “He did that for us?” We craned our necks around, but he was gone. We hadn’t even talked to the man. The people who were sitting next to him shrugged. He’d just been sitting next to them, apparently, all on his own. He’d exchanged a few words with them about Alex Avila’s swing, but that was it. They knew nothing else about him.

My one nephew brightened up immediately. Holding the souvenir ball in his hands, he wistfully said, “I really wanted to get a ball tonight.” My daughter hugged her tiger—“I can’t believe how nice that man was.”

Neither can I.

The rational part of me wants to come up with a reason WHY he did what he did. Maybe he enjoyed watching children excitedly follow a pretty exciting game. Maybe he appreciated my wife and I doing our best to make sense of the game to the younger kids. OR, and, for some reason, this is harder for me to wrap my head around, but maybe he was just an incredibly kind person. Maybe he had no agenda. Maybe there was no inciting incident that acted as a catalyst for his charitable act. Maybe he was just out for the night, watching his favorite game, “the greatest game ever,” he was feeling pretty good, and he was overcome with the desire to pass that feeling on.

So he got up, went to the gift shop, bought some souvenirs, found a pen, wrote a note, and decided that the best way to deliver his package of goodwill was to drop it off anonymously and disappear into the shadows like Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams. (True story—I did ask the people behind us if they were sure the man wasn’t a ghost. By the end of the game, they were still undecided.)

If you’re reading this, Man Who Was Sitting Behind Us in Section 329, Row B at Comerica Park Last Night, THANK YOU.

Your act of kindness made an already fun night positively magical for my daughter and my nephews. They talked about it all the way back to the car, marveling at what you’d done, marveling at how baseball really might be the greatest game ever, because, thanks to you, they now associate the game with not only excitement, drama, and competition, but also with grace, empathy, and benevolence.

If you ever stumble upon this article, I just want you to know I appreciate the hell out of what you did for my family and I hope to one day pass on as much goodwill as you did last night. Our Family Was Handed an Anonymous Note at a Baseball Game Last Night---This Is What It Said

About Tom Burns

Tom Burns is a husband, a dad, and a veteran of the educational publishing industry, living just outside of Detroit Rock City. He’s also been a writer and contributing editor for a number of web sites, including 8BitDad, and founded BuildingaLibrary.com - a website devoted to helping parents find the right books for their kids. You can find him on Twitter at @buildalibrary.


  1. “I hope to one day pass on as much goodwill as you did last night.”
    One day? What’s wrong with now? What’s wrong with every day? It doesn’t have to be stuffed animals and baseballs. It’s the little acts of kindness that add up to make us who we are. How many times do we pass by those moments when we know there was something we could have done to increase our spirit of goodwill?

  2. Steven C. says:

    Dodger fan here. Go Detroit 100%

  3. Willis Whitlock says:

    It wasn’t me, but i wish it had been.

  4. This is the Detroit I know and Love!

  5. It’s an okay story, it would have been better if it happened at a Yankees game…. of course, I kid. 🙂

    A beautiful heart warming story on the power of kindness. Your daughter and nephews will remember that for the rest of their lives. I wonder who the man was.

  6. Amy Teachout says:

    I was the girl who sat next to the man and gave you the note and the gifts. It was truly a great thing that man did….your daughters excitment and smile I will remember always. So glad there are people out there like our “ghoste”. 🙂

    • Oh, that’s fantastic! Thanks for your comment! You were so nice to us!

      • Anonymous says:

        Watching the children’s faces light up and being able to share in that man’s kindness towards them was a great gift! 🙂

        • Bill Scott says:

          Great story, Bob. I believe, besides this man being genuine and generous, he admired a clean cut family with well-behaved kids, and he sincerely appreciated youngsters excited to be with parents. That is something that seems to be diminishing in our society. Kids are often spoiled, unappreciative, rude, loud and obnoxious, The adults are wearing out the beer man. The kids are throwing a fit because they want more stuff, etc. Congrats to him and you, your wife, and the kids!

  7. What a beautiful story! I’m sorry to say I kind of braced myself before reading this, because I was afraid it was going to be something mean. 🙂

  8. William Geatches says:

    There truly are more good people than you would think….I’d like to thank that man as well for making my day a little brighter…

  9. Ken Goldstein says:

    My two teams, my beloved game, and the magic of your family. I have chills. Thank you for sharing. And to the gift giver for giving. Just perfect forever!

  10. Keithk2 says:

    See! There really IS magic happening in Detroit!

  11. Just another proud dad, and proud Detroiter.

  12. What a cool moment! It’s always nice to hear about generosity and kindness. It seems nice stories are so rare these days. They help us remember the goodness of humanity.

  13. And that’s how it’s done folks… Kindness Home Run. Pass it on.

    Thank you for sharing one of the greatest kindnesses ever!

  14. This is heartwarming for sure. Baseball is sometimes more about what happens in the stands than on the field! I have lived it! Congratulations Tom! Who knows, it could have been Jesus…..keep praying, everyone!

  15. Good things happen to good people!

  16. Awesome random act of kindness. The sort of thing that reminds us to sit back and enjoy life and everything it brings to us. Perfect reason to pay it forward sometime.

  17. That is an outstanding story. There are some good people left out there. And kudos to you for raising kids who elicit that action rather than the “I’ve got to get away from these kids” reaction.

    • Hey! You were in the D!

    • M Hancock says:

      This is the best story I’ve read in who knows how long! My Pop (also a JC) turned me on to my first Rangers game years ago and I’ve been hooked on it since! Truly a magical game, and next time I attend I may very look to see how I may be able to help share some magic like this man if fine example did.

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