MLB player Yasiel Puig from the Cleveland Indians recently visited Camp Simcha, a Jewish summer camp for children with terminal illnesses. While Puig wanted to brighten the lives of the children, he recounts that he has gained so much more.
Beginning with a favour from his friend, Irv Bauman, whose grandson helps out at Camp Simcha.
My grandson actually asked me if it would be possible if Yasiel would possibly make a visit to the camp, and the kids would just go crazy if they saw him.
Puig responds with great enthusiasm:
Of course, I’ll do it.
With that, Puig took his chance on his off-day against the New York Mets to rent a helicopter and flew straight to Camp Simcha.
Learning about Jewish heritage
Being Cuban, Puig spent time with Bauman in learning about kosher, religion, and various songs to better assimilate himself into Jewish culture.
He was so into it, it was amazing. It’s hard to describe how into it he was.
Despite his star status, Puig was able to humble himself and give it his all to be respectful to the children he ended up visiting.
Hiding his bright-red hair, Puig put on a fake tiger head to hide his identity.
The crowd was undoubtedly excited by his presence.
But Puig soon got to work and focused on the children he wanted to visit. He went around and participated in various camp activities. He made candles, and of course played a game of catch.
Reflecting on his personal experience, Puig mentions:
That’s pretty amazing because when I was a little kid, I dreamed that somebody famous or somebody from any sport would come to me and say hi or pass time with me and show me around any sport and share moments with me.
Puig even paid a visit to the infirmary to spend time with a child who was too sick to participate in group activities. They spent quality time in Finding Waldo.
Wanting to return
Puig’s enthusiasm hasn’t died down after his visit. In fact, he asked how soon he could return the moment he left the camp.
A mother writes to Bauman for making Puig’s visit possible:
Mr. Bauman, I have to thank you. I have not seen my son smile like that since he was born.
His impact has been felt all over the world, and has touched the hearts of many. May Puig’s actions inspire others to brighten someone’s day!