Twitter Connects Tim Tebow & Missy Franklin with Crash Victims
On Saturday night in upstate New York, a drunk driver hit a 2004 Ford Explorer driven by Shenendehowa High School senior football player, Chris Stewart. Stewart, along with classmate Deanna Rivers, a softball player, died in the crash. Stewart’s girlfriend, Baily Wind, and Rivers 17 year-old boyfriend, Matt Hardy, survived, but were seriously injured.
According to police, the driver of the other car, a student from nearby Siena College, was under the influence of alcohol when he veered into the vehicle carrying the four teens, via WNYT in Albany.
After the crash, the victim's friends started tweeting using the hashtags #tebowcallmatt and #missycallbailey in an attempt to connect the Jets quarterback and Olympic swimmer with two of their fans. By Monday night, the hashtag went viral and as of 7 p.m. last night, more than 50,000 Twitter users had retweeted the #TebowCallMatt and 16,700 had tweeted #MissyCallBailey, according to Hashtag.org, a website that tracks Twitter traffic.
Tebow called Hardy, who plays football, baseball and basketball, around 9 p.m. and at 9:30 tweeted "Thanks to everyone who got #TebowCallMatt trending & helped connect us. Matt truly inspired me. God bless y'all."
Matt's brother Mike tweeted after the call:
TIM TEBOW JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH MATT! SUCH A CLASS ACT!!— Mike Hardy (@mike_hardy5) December 4, 2012
Franklin tweeted around midnight that she called Wind, a member of her high school swim/dive team, and left a voicemail message.
Called Bailey and left her a voicemail. Would still love to talk to her. Bailey and her community are in my thoughts and prayers #staystrong— Missy Franklin (@FranklinMissy) December 4, 2012
It took just a few minutes of these two athletes’ time to give the teen survivors something to smile about. It doesn’t make up for what happened and it is not going to make the healing process any easier, but it’s something that may help them get through the difficult days and weeks ahead.