Pictures of a Kentucky coalminer and his family went viral after an image shared widely showed the he had rushed straight from a shift in the mine to take his young son to the university’s basketball game – so as not to miss the boy’s first live basketball experience.
Michael McGuire hurried after work to watch a University of Kentucky scrimmage game with his young son in Pikeville, in the eastern part of the state.
Still clad in his work uniform and covered in coal dust, McGuire’s determination to spend quality time with his son captured much attention. A Kentucky fan snapped a picture of McGuire and his son and posted the image to a fan page on Facebook, reported CNN.
Soon, the picture of the pair was noticed by the University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, who shared the viral moment himself and offered the McGuire family VIP tickets to a University of Kentucky game.
“My family’s American dream started in a Clarksburg, West Virginia coal mine, so this picture hits home. From what I’ve been told, after his shift, he raced to be with his son and watch our team. Don’t know who this is, but I have tickets for him and his family at Rupp to be treated as VIPs!!” Calipari posted on Twitter, referring to the Rupp Arena where University of Kentucky home games are held.
While fans had connected the McGuire family to Calipari through McGuire’s wife Mollie, McGuire later told CNN affiliate WKYT that he didn’t initially hear about the viral moment because he was working underground.
“When I got out and got service on my way home, it went crazy … I couldn’t believe that it was real,” said McGuire to WKYT.
McGuire added that he decided to rush to the game as going home to freshen up after work would have meant missing much of the match.
McGuire and Calipari have since been connected, with Calipari later telling reporters that local businesses and hotels have been very eager to treat the family when they come into Lexington for their VIP game experience, reported CBS News.
“Isn’t it neat for someone like that, who is a quiet, humble guy to know people appreciate you, and we appreciate what you stand for,” said Calipari to reporters on Tuesday. “And I appreciate it because it’s how my family got their start in this country.”