Many stars do their part for charity, but NFL legend Tim Tebow regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty. So when a girl with disabilities asked him to the prom, he knew he had to do something to make her night special. Moreover, what he came up with truly took his fans’ breath away.
Certainly, there are few personalities in U.S. sports as well known as Tim Tebow. After a strong start on the college circuit, the quarterback was drafted to the Denver Broncos in 2010. From there, he transferred to the New York Jets before playing for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
During this time, Tebow gained countless accolades. In particular, his skills earned him the 2007 Heisman Trophy, an accolade which is awarded each year to the leading college football player in the U.S. And while he swapped football for baseball in 2015, his signature “Tebowing” move remains often-imitated by fans.
Yet although many know Tebow for his skills with a pigskin, the sportsman is also a committed philanthropist off the field. Inspired by his family ties to the Philippines, where his parents worked as missionaries, the star began charity work while still in college. Indeed, he even helped to create a foundation while pursuing his studies.
After graduating from university, the player then expanded his efforts by establishing his own Tim Tebow Foundation. In its first year of operation, the charity subsequently welcomed $4 million in donations – $1.5 million more than was expected. This in turn bought hospital equipment for sick children, including 30 beds for a facility in Mindanao in the Philippines.
However, this isn’t all that the big-hearted sportsman’s done in the name of philanthropy. In addition, since 2014 Tebow and his foundation have hosted an annual prom night for teenagers living with disabilities. Dubbed “Night to Shine,” the event is staged in all 50 states in the U.S.
Indeed, now in its third year, the project has surpassed all expectations to become a global initiative. Currently, the Night to Shine events serve 75,000 teenagers and are conducted in 375 cities all over the world. And it was during one such prom in New York that Tebow’s attention was drawn to a very special girl.
Like her hero, 18-year-old Judy Adams is determined to make the world a better place. Born with Down’s syndrome, the young altruist has been collecting money for others with disabilities through her charity, Dimes for Downs. What’s more, since starting her collection at the age of 12, Adams has already amassed an incredible $536,000 in donations.
Now in 2017 Adams had the chance to attend her local Night to Shine event, where she saw the perfect opportunity to connect with the sports star. She knew that Tebow himself didn’t attend his own high school prom. So, Adams thought that it seemed like a good idea to extend an invite to the athlete.
Before the prom, the plucky teen sent Tebow a request to join her at the New York event. However, with 374 other ceremonies to visit, the football player simply had no time to see her in person. Nevertheless, Adams’ invitation stuck in his mind, and he soon thought of a way to make the occasion even more memorable.
Consequently, following the event, Tebow got in touch with Adams’ mother with a suggestion. In May the sportsman was set to appear on The Tonight Show to promote his new book, Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters. What’s more, he wanted to know if Adams was available to come and see the taping of the episode.
Naturally, Adams jumped at the chance to watch one of her favorite shows being made. But her mother decided to keep one little fact secret: that the tickets had been given to her by Tebow. Instead, she told her daughter that they had simply won them in a competition.
When it came time to sit in at the studio, then, the starstruck teen remained clueless. Indeed, she didn’t even become suspicious upon learning that Tebow was “coincidentally” chatting with host Jimmy Fallon that night. However, it was when the superstar athlete began talking about his charity work that Adams soon realized the truth.
As Fallon brought up the subject of Night to Shine, Tebow mentioned that he had never gone to prom at school. “That means you’ve never given a date one of these?” the host chuckled as he grabbed a corsage from under his desk. “Very fashionable – it goes with nothing,” he added.
After handing the accessory to the former footballer, Fallon then suddenly steered the conversation in an unexpected direction. “You do have someone you’d like to give it to tonight,” the comedian prompted. “Someone in the audience.” And, turning to face the crowd, Tebow replied, “I do.”
Much to Adams’ surprise, Tebow then began to tell the audience about her invitation to prom. “She is so amazing, she is so inspirational,” he enthused, before apologizing for not taking her to the event. “But we invited her mom here today. And she is here, and I am here…”
As the camera turned to face the overjoyed fan, Adams could barely contain her excitement. What’s more, with anticipation reaching a fever pitch, Tebow offered the teen something more special than she could have ever imagined. “Judy Adams, I was wondering if maybe I could have a dance?” he asked.
Clasping her hands to her mouth in shock, Adams looked pleased at his suggestion. Then, with the audience cheering her on, the wonderstruck teenager rushed over and hugged her favorite star. “Are you surprised?” Tebow asked. “Yes!” she yelled, barely able to contain her excitement.
From the stands, Adams’ mother wiped away the tears as she watched her daughter’s dreams come true. To the smooth sounds of Fallon’s house band, The Roots, the pair shared a slow dance over The Tonight Show floor. And so, for one amazing moment, the teen felt more remarkable than she ever had in all her life.
However, Tebow’s kindness didn’t end with that waltz. After the show, he took Adams to meet fellow The Tonight Show guest actress Kerry Washington. Furthermore, the sports star also sent Adams a signed copy of his book, Shaken, in the mail. All in all, then, Tebow’s actions confirmed once and for all that he really is one of the nicest men in sports.
But it’s not just sports stars who know how to look after their fans. For example, when Lady Gaga was giving a show-stopping performance in Connecticut, she saw that one of her little monsters was in big trouble. Thankfully, though, the singer knew exactly what she could do to help.
Lady Gaga knows she owes a great debt to her loyal fans, whom she calls her “little monsters.” And in turn, the pop star urges her followers to express themselves creatively in any way they choose; she also encourages them to be kind, accepting and compassionate. Perhaps, then, Gaga felt the urge to help again when she noticed something amiss during a gig in November 2017. And as a result, Mother Monster – as Gaga has long called herself – stopped the show immediately.
But you only have to look at Gaga’s early life to understand how she turned into the compassionate pop star we know today. She was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in New York on March 28, 1986, and was raised in the Catholic faith; while young, she also found that she loved both playing the piano and performing. Then, at the age of 11, Gaga was sent to a private, single-sex Catholic school. She didn’t enjoy the experience, however; isolated and considered an oddball, the future star was bullied badly by the other girls.
And in 2011 Gaga opened up to The View about her subsequent insecurities. “I had to look inside myself and say, ‘Well, what do I have to offer?’” she said frankly, adding, “Because for so many years I felt like I didn’t have very much to offer.” However, there was a more serious and darker event that affected her mental health during her pre-fame years. In an interview on Howard Stern’s radio show in 2014, Gaga revealed that she had been sexually assaulted when she was 19 years old.
Then, as a result of the assault, Gaga experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. However, she would later use the platform of celebrity to address this in an attempt to end the stigma around the condition. “The kindness that’s shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends, it’s really saved my life,” she told Today in December 2016. “My own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others.”
And in 2017, just as her “Joanne” tour was getting into gear, Gaga disclosed that she had another long-term health problem. This was the chronic condition fibromyalgia, which causes deep-tissue muscle and joint pain in sufferers. “I wish to help raise awareness [and] connect people who have it,” Gaga said on Twitter on September 12, 2017.
Fibromyalgia is thought to affect 2 percent to 8 percent of individuals worldwide, with women being more likely to suffer from it than men. However, despite the serious and debilitating pain fibromyalgia causes, it is largely an “invisible” problem. In order to raise awareness, then, Gaga released a documentary on Netflix in September 2017, and Gaga: Five Foot Two chronicles her journey as she fights against the condition.
Sadly, though, fibromyalgia and its effects forced Gaga to reschedule dates on the European leg of the “Joanne” world tour in September 2017. The star’s record label released a statement apologizing for the postponements, which Gaga herself would post to her Twitter feed. This message began, “Lady Gaga is devastated that she has to wait to perform for her European fans.”
The release continued, “[Gaga] plans to spend the next seven weeks proactively working with her doctors to heal from this and past traumas that still affect her daily life and result in severe physical pain in her body.” It added, “She wants to give her fans the best version of the show she built for them when the tour resumes. Lady Gaga sends her love to all her fans across Europe and thanks them for their support and understanding.”
And, eventually, the show did indeed go on. The “Joanne” tour recommenced, and on November 11, 2017, Gaga found herself giving her all for thousands of fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. But as the star was performing there, she chose to abruptly call a halt to proceedings at one point in the show. And an amazing fan video of what happened next was later posted online.
That’s because, out of the sea of thousands of faces, Gaga had noticed someone in distress. A female member of the audience was bleeding, and the singer had stopped the whole performance to make sure the fan was okay. And the Twitter clip shows the star crouch down on the stage to speak to the little monster concerned. “Hi, I just looked over and I saw… are you doing all right?” Gaga asks her. “Do you need some extra help? Do you need a paramedic?” And while medical assistance is on its way, Gaga nevertheless wants to know more about the stricken fan.
Having ascertained the little monster’s name, Gaga then tells her, “Meredith, I’m so sorry you got hit in the face and that you’re bleeding.” And it seemed like the audience shared the star’s concern. Far from being angry that the concert had been interrupted, sympathetic “Aww”s echoed around the Uncasville arena. Gaga goes on to promise Meredith, “You okay? We’re gonna make sure you’re okay, all right?”
Then, paramedics arrive at Meredith’s side and give her medical attention. Gaga explains to the audience, “I think she’s gonna go off and see the doctors.” But what the star says next perhaps sums up her attitude and approach to fame. In short, Gaga states, “What we all need to remember is that there are some things that are more important than show business.” This pronouncement is greeted with wild approval and applause.
After that, Gaga dedicates her next song to Meredith. But she is only halfway through her hit “Paparazzi” when she stops the show again. And Gaga’s mind is obviously still on Meredith, as she instructs her crew, “Make sure to get that girl a backstage pass!” Meanwhile, one Twitter user in the crowd had captured the whole episode on camera. And when they uploaded the video that same night, it spread like wildfire across the internet.
The fan-shot footage also came with a caption that read, “A fan was hit in the face [and] started bleeding during tonight’s show, so Lady Gaga stopped the show to make sure [the fan] was fine [and] gave her a backstage pass!” And the tweet itself would eventually rack up 2,858 retweets and 7,821 likes. Four days after the video was posted, however, the focus of Gaga’s attention that night commented on the tweet and made herself known to the world.
The woman in question identified herself as Meredith Melendez and explained what had happened at the show. She wrote, “That was me guys! I’m Meredith. And let me tell you, she was the sweetest celebrity I think I’ll ever meet. I’ll never forget my 25th [birthday] present… Gaga is amazing and a hell of a performer.” Melendez also gave an account of how she had come to be injured and bleeding in the first place.
Melendez explained, “I was standing in front row when [Gaga] threw a rose that fell off of her costume. She threw it in my direction but this really tall dude jumped in front to catch it.” She added, “And when he was coming down, his elbow hit me in right in the bridge of my nose and caused me to bleed, and Lady Gaga looked down and noticed.” Melendez concluded her tweet, however, by adding a hashtag – #itwasanaccident.
Apparently, the man who had unwittingly smashed her in the nose subsequently apologized to Melendez, although he did not give the injured woman the disputed rose. But Melendez was fine, and thankfully she suffered no long-term physical damage.
And in turn other Gaga fans came over to the Twitter feed to spread the Mother Monster love. One fan tweeted, for instance, “And this is why @ladygaga is a queen. No, scratch that. She is a goddess. This is one of many reasons why she inspires me. Always doing things for others and being a nice person.”
Still, Gaga is not the only celebrity who has ever stopped a concert after spotting something apparently wrong in the audience. Harry Styles once brought a performance to a halt when he witnessed a crowd member having a panic attack, for example. And, commendably, at a Netherlands music festival in August 2017, Sam Carter of U.K. metalcore group Architects stopped a song to call out a man whom he had seen groping a crowdsurfing woman.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Gaga has committed her time and energy to a considerable and varied amount of charity work since she became famous. The LGBT advocate has also donated considerable sums to organizations such as the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Red Cross and Oxfam. It seems, then, that her kindness and compassion are no perfect illusion.