It’s fair to say that watching live baseball may provoke many emotions by itself. What one Chicago Cubs fan witnessed while sitting in the bleachers at a home game left her in tears, however. Why? Well, it was all to do with what she had seen going on between two young guys and an older man and his wife.
And that Cubs supporter was Lauren Hinkston Hintzsche, a retired teacher from Rochelle, Illinois. Back in October 2017 she had gone to see her favorite team play the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field and was soaking up the atmosphere in the bleachers with her husband John. What’s more, the couple’s exceptional seats afforded them a very clear view of the field of play.
Hintzsche also had a great view of the bleachers, however, and what she saw there that afternoon pleased her. As she watched other spectators assume their seats, she spotted a man who was both older than most of his fellow Cubs supporters and apparently much frailer. He was struggling to get to his seat, as the steep steps were presenting a challenge, although the man’s wife was also there trying to help him.
The old guy was clearly a Cubs man, too, decked out as he was in a replica shirt of the team’s blue alternative uniform with a number 16 on the back as well as a blue baseball cap to boot. Furthermore, it was evident from the elderly sports fan’s determination that he wasn’t going to let the steps beat him.
As Hintzsche looked on, however, the situation suddenly changed. That’s when two young men who had been sitting along from her position in the bleachers jumped up and went to the ailing man’s aid. The pair didn’t have a plan to assist the old guy, though; they just had an impulsive reaction to help. Hintzsche, meanwhile, had already fallen into conversation with the young men before this moment and knew that they were called Mike and Bobby.
Mike and Bobby then guided the senior sports fan as he continued his way down the bleacher steps. The two of them supported the old guy, offering an arm when it was needed but keeping their distance when it was not. And while Hintzsche had thought that Mike and Bobby had already seemed nice enough guys, the respect they showed the elderly man made her see them in a new light.
Even once the young men had escorted the senior and his wife safely to their seats, their regard for the couple didn’t stop there. And as the four of them were sitting very close to Hintzsche and her husband, she could watch the relationship develop while simultaneously keeping an eye on play.
It was quickly discovered that the two young men, Mike and Bobby Amato, were actually brothers who loved to meet up as often as possible. This wasn’t as often as both would like, as one brother lived there in Chicago, while the other sibling was down in San Diego. Both were Cubs fans, however, and were delighted to be reunited at the game.
It was also learned that the old couple sat beside the Hintzsche and her husband were Dan and Micki Isacksen of Bourbonnais, Ilinois. The Amatos, meanwhile, were sat immediately in front of them. And so every time the crowd got to its feet to roar its approval or disapproval at the action on the field, Hintzsche saw that one of the brothers would help Dan to stand so he could witness what was going on for himself. Crucial points were won and lost that afternoon, and the Amatos made sure that Dan missed nothing.
Even when the elderly man grew tired and decided to rest in his seat, though, the Amatos still found a way to help. As the crowd would rise in excitement at an important piece of play, Mike and Bobby took it in turns to stay sat down so that Dan could have an unobstructed view. And as the game progressed, wife Micki watched on, holding his hand and smiling to herself.
Dan, on the other hand, would pat his partner’s knee lovingly. He was gripped by the game and living in the moment – but sharing it with his wife. And Hintzsche, too, noticed and appreciated the warmth between the pair. In the third inning, though, the older woman would lean across to Hintzsche and said six words that chilled her to the bone.
At that moment, in fact, Micki turned to her seating neighbor to reveal something devastating about her husband. “He’s going through chemo right now,” she confided. It was then that Hintzsche understood the full importance of the Amatos’ altruism. What’s more, the brothers had no way of knowing the personal battle this elderly stranger was fighting; they just had his back instinctively.
“We have done about everything else we can do, and this is the last step,” Micki continued, her eyes now on her man. And Hintzsche was humbled by the strength this couple showed. Indeed, despite the effort it had taken the Isacksens to get to their seats at that game, they were there. And by making the most of whatever time they had left, Dan and Micki were refusing to let cancer win.
Hintzsche felt tears come to her eyes. Dan may have been undergoing debilitating chemotherapy treatment for cancer, but nevertheless, he continued to do what he loved. The Isacksens had made some concessions to their circumstances, though, moving from their normal seats at Wrigley Field to the bleachers, where Dan felt safer. And he was not only safe; with his wife and the Amatos on hand, he was also well cared for.
Pure delight beamed from the face of the old man, in fact, and it was clear to Hintzsche that – for one afternoon at least – Dan had completely forgotten about his illness. “I just love this,” she heard him call out to his wife, as Mike and Bobby continued to treat him like royalty. Hintzsche, meanwhile, felt her eyes well up with tears again.
And by the end of the game, likely every Cubs fan present was elated that their team had emerged victorious. But Hintzsche had yet another reason to feel uplifted: the kind actions of the Amatos. Hintzsche would go on to tell the Rochelle News-Leader what the brothers did when fans began to leave the bleachers. “Right away, they said to Dan, ‘We got you,’” she revealed. “One of them led the way, and the other was in the back, and they walked him up the stairs.”
Hintzsche herself, meanwhile, was overcome with emotion at the warm-hearted actions she was witnessing. She has even admitted to impulsively running over to the men, thanking them for their generosity and hugging them goodbye. A fond farewell then took place between the Hintzsches, the Amatos and the Isacksens before their special afternoon was over.
After witnessing the Amatos’ unexpectedly touching actions at the game, moreover, Hintzsche was spurred into action. Indeed, she felt that that kind of selfless behavior isn’t seen too often and should be celebrated when it does. In addition, she wanted to share her joy and express her heartfelt thanks to the brothers.
As a result, Hintzsche logged into her Facebook account on her way home. There, she would post a couple of pictures from the afternoon and share the heartwarming story on her wall. Then things went crazy, as she later told the Rochelle News-Leader. “I don’t even know what viral means, but now I do,” Hintzsche said. “I looked at the post and saw all the likes and shares. To me it was a simple post… It just kept going and going.”
The post received likes, comments and shares in the tens of thousands, in fact. It also saw one social media user comment, “Great job, gentleman. Wish there were more people like this. Just maybe the world would be a better place.” That sentiment was shared by many, and Hintzsche totally agreed. She added to the Rochelle News-Leader, “There’s good things going on in the world and we need to focus on those, not the bad things. There’s always good people in the world.”