It'd be hard to picture a professional sports owner, such as, oh, let's say a Hank Steinbrenner or a Dan Snyder, stopping to do a random act of kindness for a homeless man in a busy train station during rush hour.
But apparently one reporter saw Capitals owner Ted Leonsis doing just that this morning.
Tarik El-Bashir, the Capitals' beat writer for the Washington Post, recounts what he saw Leonsis do at Washington's Union Station this morning before embarking on an Amtrak trip to New York for the team's game at Madison Square Garden Wednesday.
As we walked to the track entrance, a homeless man who was seated on the floor mumbled something in our general direction. The crowd kept moving, and so did I. But Ted stopped and asked the man to repeat what he had just said. Stunned by this, I looked around and stopped, too.
Ted put down his bag, reached for his wallet and, as he did this, noticed the man was not wearing any shoes. "What happened to your shoes?" Ted asked him. The man, who is old and appeared to be disabled, told Ted, "Somebody stole them."
Ted said, "What?" The man said it again.
Ted handed the guy a big bill (I didn't see how big). But before he gave it to him said, "Promise me you are going to buy shoes with this, okay?" The man nodded and said very quietly, "Thank you."
As far as owners go, Leonsis is well-known in local circles for his philanthropy, and also his approachability. On several occasions over his ownership of the team, I've talked to him outside of work, several times with him approaching me rather than my noticing him first, and he's always been very affable and approachable.
And, in a city that recently had the harrowing tale of one man that lay dying on the sidewalk as dozens of people just walked by him and not offering to help him, this really is a strong tale about one of the good owners in sports.
Ted Leonsis' Random Act of Kindness originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Wed, 11 Feb 2009 10:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.