Matt Kemp: Giver of Gifts

Following a game against the Giants in San Francisco in May 2013, Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp signed a baseball for a fan named Josh, and then gave him his hat and his jersey — and his shoes. Josh’s friend Tommy Schultz posted video of the good deed on <YouTube> and wrote, “Matt Kemp is such a great person. He came over after the game and made one of my best friends[’] night 🙂 he’s fighting a tough battle and this was such a great gift by Matt Kemp! I’ll never forget this.” The video does not show Josh thanking Mr. Kemp, leading viewers of the video to think that Josh cannot talk, so Tommy wrote later, “Josh can talk so you all know. He was just very shocked to receive this from Matt.” Tommy also wrote that Josh has a rare form of cancer. YouTube user UtterDissonance commented, “As a SF Giants fan, I’ll always hate the Dodgers, but I don’t think I will ever hate Matt Kemp. Guy is a class act every time I see clips of him outside of the game.” The fan is Josh Jones from Tracy, California. Mr. Kemp said that third base coach Tim Wallach “told me that there was a big Dodger fan at the game and that he didn’t have a long time to live — not longer than a month and a half. So after the game, I just decided to go meet him. He couldn’t talk because I guess his speech was gone. When I said ‘Hi’ to him, he just looked at me in shock. It almost got me.” Josh has been wearing the No. 27 jersey that Mr. Kemp gave him. Because of the cancer, Josh has a difficult time speaking, but he said in an interview with CBS that Mr. Kemp’s good deed “made me want to keep fighting cancer, made me really happy when he did this,” Jones said. Mr. Kemp’s good deed has gone viral. Josh’s father, Steve Jones, said, “I had no idea it was going to get this huge. I just wanted my son to be able to meet Matt Kemp, and that was it, you know. But it sounds like a lot of people are interested in our story, so that’s the good thing.”

Mr. Kemp continued doing good things for Joshua. In late May, three weeks after meeting Joshua, Mr. Kemp flew him and his family to Los Angeles so that they could see the Dodgers play at home. Three weeks previously, of course, Joshua’s father, Steve, had asked Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach to ask Mr. Kemp to say “Hi” to Joshua. Steve Jones said, “You don’t find a lot of ballplayers who will do something like that for you. I asked him to come over and say hello to my son, and he’s done a lot more than that.”

For Further Information: Tommy Schultz, “Matt Kemp post game.” YouTube. 6 May 2013

For Further Information: Steve Large, “Dodgers Star Lifts Hopes Of Tracy Cancer Patient.” CBS. 8 May 2013

For Further Information: Mike Oz, “Matt Kemp flies terminally ill fan Joshua Jones to L.A., introduces him to his famous pals.” Yahoo! Sports. 28 May 2013

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