A Miami Heat hat appeared from behind a vehicle. Rolling forward to the Make-A-Wish banner ahead of him, Kenneth “Shon” Maiten watched the group of women standing on the curb. Mom and his two brothers followed closely, smiling brightly at the group that was cheering at their arrival. Mom had a knowing smile, evident that she’d been involved in the planning of the day ahead of them and her excitement was contagious.
Shon, who just turned 18, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, but other than his wheelchair, it would be hard to tell. He is a self-determined teen. His mom, Wanda, says she taught him that it was important to still be independent. “He normally doesn’t like anybody to do anything for him,” she’d said in the initial planning phases.
After much time and consideration, Shon decided on his wish. He was ready for a shopping spree to stock up on new clothes, Miami Heat gear, and hopefully some LeBron James Nike’s!
Volunteers got on the phone, made calls, scheduled stores and in the process came across some generous business owners and shoppers. In numerous talks with Wanda, Shon’s Mom, she squealed with excitement as more and more was developed. “He knows what he wants, and this is it” she would say. “Just wait until you see his smile—it will be ear to ear!”
In the first stop, at American Eagle, a shopper walked in and realized what was happening. Touched, she walked to the cashier and asked if she could give Shon a $100 gift card to use. When the family found out, Shon made his way over to her to say thank you and a tearful encounter with a stranger ensued. With that, the tone was set for the rest of the day.
In each store, Shon was surprised again and again… but Dick’s Sporting Goods was his favorite. They rolled out the red carpet, and the staff through talking with volunteers about all of Shon’s favorites, got something special for Shon that he wouldn’t have found anywhere else.
Shon wheeled into the store and was greeted by managers, employees and shoppers. To his right, he caught sight of something on the display, but didn’t say a word. When store manager, Chad, greeted him he told him he had something special he wanted to show him. He pushed the display toward Shon and tears formed in the boy’s eyes. Chad and his team had flown in a pair of LeBron James Nikes, a jersey, hat and much more from the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Miami, just so Shon’s shopping spree would be the success he was hoping for.
He immediately put his new shoes on, and the smile never faded.
At the end of the day, Shon had bags of new clothes, new shoes, a microphone to record music with at home, Miami Heat gear, games, gaming equipment, headphones and of course—his two younger brothers walked away with something too!
Just as the Miami Heat hat had first appeared around the corner that morning, it disappeared among bags that marked his successful day as the family drove home.