CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Toshula Leachman read an article in Smiley Anders' column in The Advocate where someone told the story of how the Central High School softball team befriended a man down on his luck at the Chick-fil-A on Millerville Road recently and she was so moved by the story that she nominated the entire Central High softball team for WAFB's Hand It On.
Well, we investigated and agreed. Central head coach Michelle Efferson explained what happened.
"We had a scrimmage with Acadiana, so we were headed to Lafayette and got about halfway there when they called us and said, 'Hey, we're rained out today.'" said Efferson. "So, we turned around and decided we'd feed the girls lunch first, then bring them back to school to practice."
"We saw this homeless man pulled to the side on a bike," Taliyah Joseph said.
He was picking out some mustard packets, so, she approached the man and asked if he needed something to eat.
"I asked him, 'Hey, do you want me to buy you some food?' And, he was like, 'Oh, my gosh. Please.' And, I did. I bought him some chicken tenders," she explained.
But, while she was doing this, the remaining girls on the team took up a collection among themselves and gave the man $50.
"I know what it feels like to be different and people will judge you [on] how you look and they won't help you. And I know that feels. So, humility will humble you. So, I just helped him out," Joseph added.
"And it was a really special moment for all us coaches. We just sat back and watched this unfold. It really didn't surprise me. They did this because they are a very special group of ladies. They've been like that since they've come to us here at Central. We have great girls! But you never get to witness it like that. Yeah, we had a couple coaches crying. It was a very touching and emotional moment for all of us," Efferson said.
So, we agreed to all meet up at practice one afternoon where Toshula Leachman presented the team with our Hand It On gift of $300. With the students gathered at the pitcher's mound, Leachman approached, with WAFB in tow.
"What you girls demonstrated, you did it from the heart," Leachman said. "So, I just wanted to say, 'Thank you. Keep doing what you're doing in the classroom, in the community, and on the field.' From my heart to yours, be blessed."
Then, Leachman handed Coach Efferson three new $100 bills.
"We'll use this money to make things better for you. How about we get together and say a big thank you. On three - one, two, three," Efferson said.
"Thank you," the team yelled.
No, Wildcats. Thank YOU for that great example of love and compassion for another human being.
To nominate someone for Hand It On, simply send the story in an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com.