Everyone remembers prom. It’s a milestone in life, a bridge from “Hey, I’m a kid” toward adulthood.
I don’t think I had the “adult” part down at my senior prom. I spent part of the night crying in the bathroom because my boyfriend didn’t look at me when we slow-danced. I know, right?
Fast forward many moons. A friend tagged me in a post on Facebook from the Tim Tebow Foundation. Tebow was putting on “Night to Shine,” a prom celebrating teenagers and adults with special needs.
By the time I became aware of “Night to Shine,” I had to beg to volunteer as the deadline already had passed. And beg I did – I sent emails, made phone calls, was turned down twice. Then, by the grace of God I was granted access to serve at Crosspoint Church in Nashville.
I arrived early, receiving my assignment for the night. I would be a buddy to a prom-goer and anxiously waited to meet my date for the evening.
Finally, I stepped out from behind the curtain and saw the most beautiful smiling face in a floral “poofy” dress. Her name was Randall. When she says “yes” to you, she says it with her whole face and body – nodding her head while smiling from ear-to-ear and clapping all at the same time.
Randall is 19 and she has Down syndrome.
I applaud Tebow for putting on an event of this magnitude, and the attention to detail was unreal.
I linked arms with Randall as we readied for our red-carpet entrance. Just before we took to the carpet, a uniformed military officer asked if he could escort her inside. I was happy to follow and document the moment. Once she stepped on the carpet, “paparazzi” took pictures of her and screamed her name – all pre-planned.
I saw happiness radiating off of Randall; it was tangible. I put my hands on her shoulder and said, “Look, Randall, they are all here for you. Listen – they are screaming your name.”
I’ve spoken tens of millions of words in my life, but those were some of the sweetest.
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