Like most moms, April Luyt hopes her kids grow up to be kind and selfless people.
Recently, she saw first-hand how caring her teenage son Brahm already is, when she watched him give one of his prized possessions to a rival high school football player.
Brahm, who attends Sandra Day O’Connor High School, 25250 N. 35th Ave., which is part of Deer Valley Unified School District, recently played in a game versus Shadow Ridge High School.
During the game, Brahm was wearing his St. Christopher necklace, which Ms. Luyt, who is a third-grade teacher at Arizona Charter Academy, 16025 N. Dysart Road, in Surprise, gave to both Brahm and his twin brother Kian as birthday gifts a couple of years ago.
“The necklaces are for protection while they are playing football. Football is an injury-prone sport and, as a mom, I worry about serious injury,” Ms. Luyt said, adding that Brahm wore the necklace every day, whether he played football or not.
On the field at Sandra Day O’Connor, the junior varsity teams faced each other. After a play, Justin Leingang from Shadow Ridge hit the turf hard and injured his neck.
The crowd was silent as Justin didn’t move, Ms. Luyt said. As paramedics loaded Justin into an ambulance, she watched Brahm head over to the emergency vehicle.
Her motherly intuition told Ms. Luyt that her son was giving his St. Christopher necklace to the injured player. As she soon learned, she was correct.
“I was so proud and blown away to watch Brahm give his necklace to Justin. I cried when I saw him head over to the ambulance because it was such a beautiful moment and I couldn’t imagine how scared the other family was,” Ms. Luyt said.
As Brahm sees it, giving Justin his necklace was an easy decision.
“When you see a rival player injured, it doesn’t matter what team you’re on. You care about him like it was one of your own teammates,” Brahm said.
“When I saw Justin lying there, I realized that I needed to give the necklace to him to protect him.”
Brahm’s selfless act caught the attention of talk show host Kelly Clarkson, who recently invited both him and Ms. Luyt to be on her show. The show will air at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, on NBC.
“It was such a great experience to be on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show,’” Ms. Luyt said. “She asked Brahm why the necklace was so important to him and what it was like to meet Justin in person after the injury.”
Brahm was wearing his new St. Christopher necklace when he was interviewed by Ms. Clarkson.
“He told Justin to keep the other necklace for protection and Justin wears it every day still,” Ms. Luyt said.
Fortunately, Justin is doing well now, Ms. Luyt said. She and Justin’s mom Gina message each other via Facebook, and Brahm and Justin are also in touch via Instagram.
Interestingly, Ms. Luyt said, Gina carries a St. Christopher coin with her when she is away from home.
“It is so neat to see the boys create a bond with each other, even being from opposing teams,” Ms. Luyt said.
In addition to striving to model selflessness and The Golden Rule for her children, Ms. Luyt said she also does the same with her third graders at Arizona Charter Academy.
“At Arizona Charter Academy, we also teach students about positive actions, and how doing selfless acts not only helps others to feel better, but helps us to feel good about ourselves,” she said. “I love catching my students doing good deeds and often give them challenge to do a good deed for someone each day.”