My name is Chuck Fiello Jr. and I was recently hired to work for the NASCAR Technical Institute. This is only my second week there and though my job may seem minor to some, I enjoy it and look forward to working there for many years.
You may ask why I am not posting as "Orange Chuck" and why this is even relevant to anything sports wise. Well I would like to take a couple moments to explain why this is not only a sports topic but something I had to share because it touched me to the point that I was not only proud to be there to witness it but proud to be alive in general.
You see, the NASCAR Technical Institute (and their UTI campuses in general) once a year host an intimate experience with Monster Jam. Today was that day and Dennis Anderson who drives Gravedigger ( http://www.gravedigger.com/) was on hand to sign autographs. I must admit, I have watched it once or twice but I was not a huge fan of the sport. However today, I became a huge fan not only of Monster Jam but Dennis Anderson in general. I know many do not understand it or have it labeled based on their impressions of it but I would ask that you try to keep an open mind and truly witness what I did today and not be a fan.
I witnessed first hand the generosity of this man. I stood near him while he signed autographs and took pictures with fans of all ages and any item the fans wanted signed. He never once displayed anything but a positive attitude and the only thing he asked for was more pens to help keep signing (well I did ask him once what he needed and he replied "a winning lottery ticket" but don't we all need one of those). He had nothing but the most positive attitude the entire time.
He truly earned my respect however when during one of his question and answer sessions, a boy and his mother stepped up to ask him a question. The boy had cerebral palsy and asked his question through his mother. Dennis answered his question throughly and respectfully. He then took him to the front of the autograph line and had his picture taken with him (which is embedded below). This was not enough though as Dennis and others worked to help this young man and his mother get something they never imagined. This young man was a huge fan and you could tell not just by the shirt and hat he wore with Gravedigger on it but by the genuine smiles he had whenever Dennis was around him. The details are still being worked out but not only did the young man get those rewards but there is a lot more that will put more smiles on the faces of him and his mother, who was genuinely in tears at how much they were doing for them. This woman had saved up money just so they could go see Monster Jam and Gravedigger and Dennis and crew made sure that she can keep her money for other things as he will receive a once in a lifetime fan experience courtesy of them.
I don't know this fan or his mother(sorry that I did not catch your names). I had never met Dennis or anyone involved prior to today. I have to admit however that witnessing up close the emotion and chills I felt, they will forever be a part of my heart. Dennis could have simply answered his question and moved on or simply just went back to the autograph table and just given him an autograph but on this day, this man decided to make an impact in the lives of a dedicated fan and yours truly. Look at his smile below and tell me, how would you feel watching a man who is doing something he loves in life, go out of his way to not just give an autograph or even free tickets but make it a more personal, intimate experience for a fan?
I am sorry if today I left the Orange Chuck persona at the door and became more real but I think sometimes, we need to see moments like this in sports to counter all the negativity we see. Dennis did not do this for attention and does not even know this will be posted on the internet for others to read. He did it because he genuinely saw a fan who looked up to him and wanted to make his experience something the fan and his mother would enjoy. He did this because the man who I met today has a monster sized heart and made me a fan of his today.
Thank you Dennis for allowing me to witness firsthand this honest and sincere moment of humanity at it's finest in a time when we are surrounded by negative news and many athletes only noticed for their action in sports or when they do something wrong. This afternoon made me a huge fan and thankful to be around to witness one of the most selfless and kindest acts I have witnessed in my entire life. Go Gravedigger!