Joslyn Levell is a girl. I mean she’s a girlie-girl. Levell is 14. She likes to wear cute clothes, text on her cell phone, and hang out with friends. Joslyn Levell also has spina bifida – a condition in which the spinal column doesn’t fully develop – leaving Levell to spend most of her time in a wheelchair. Sometimes those things that many of us take for granted with our own daughters are lost on kids like Levell. Between the frequent doctor visits and special accommodations, people forget there’s a teenager in there. Enter Bears rookie linebacker J.T. Thomas. In the midst of the NFL lockout, Thomas doesn’t have much to do. He runs and lifts weights daily in addition to helping his seven-year-old brother on and off the school bus. Thomas’ brother, Jared, has autism and J.T. is keenly aware of the challenges many special kids face. Levell and the younger Thomas ride the same bus to school and their bus driver decided to arrange a little meet-and-greet between J.T. and Levell.
Levell was born in Chicago and is a huge Bears fan. Her family moved to Morgantown, W.Va. two years ago. Thomas lives in Morgantown and was a standout linebacker at the University of West Virginia. The two finally met and after signing a few items, Thomas heard some heart-breaking news from Levell. The eighth-grade dance was coming up and she didn’t have a date. Every boy she asked to the dance turned her down. Thomas hugged her and told her everything would be OK and enacted his own plan. He went through the proper channels – asking Levell’s parents as well as the school if it would be alright to escort her to the dance. Levell was overjoyed with Thomas’ invitation. She said to NFL.com, “After so many people turned me down, this was so big, especially because he asked me instead of me asking him.”
This story would have been good with just Thomas taking her to the dance, but the Bears rookie added some real class to the evening. He rented a black Chrysler and arrived at Levell’s house with a bouquet of roses and a corsage – the way a gentleman should. Leading up to the dance, none of Levell’s friends believed her date was a hometown hero and NFL draft pick. She was far and away the life of the party. Levell had what she called the best night of her life. Thomas’ agent, Michael Giorgio told NFL.com this about his client. “He didn’t do this to score any points with anybody or with the Bears or to get any attention. This is who he is. He’s got a big heart.” If Thomas’ game turns out to be as big as his heart, the Bears may have a pro-bowler on their hands. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!