Leola Boyd is one of the reasons I love living in Oklahoma.
What happened to Leola Boyd is another reason I love living in Oklahoma.
I introduced you to Miss Leola last week. She’s the 85-year-old Thunder fan from Okeene, in northwestern Oklahoma, who thought if she donated $40 from her Social Security check, and I got others to do the same, the Thunder might be able to keep James Harden. You can read that column here.
The morning the column ran, I got a call from an Oklahoma City man who has front-row tickets to the Thunder. He wanted to donate his two seats to the home opener against Portland. He wanted Miss Leola to attend the game. His only request was that he remain anonymous.
I called Miss Leola, she was thrilled at the offer and we worked out a plan. I picked up the tickets on Thursday and took them to my office. Miss Leola and her son, who lives in Enid, drove down Friday and came by The Oklahoman building. I was gone to Iowa, but my colleagues were ready and waiting to pass off the tickets, and off went Miss Leola on her grand adventure, to see the team she had passionately cheered for but had never seen in person.
I called her this week to get a recap of the night. Here’s what she said:
“There just wasn’t any words to even express what I went through. It was wonderful. And my son really enjoyed it. I’ll never forget it.
“We parked just fine. I was so glad my son knew his way around. Some of the buildings, my son knew the name of them.
“Everyone we saw was just wonderful. Couple of women at the arena said, ‘Wasn’t your picture in the paper?’ Yes it was, I told them.
“We went in and ate (at the courtside club). It was just a wonderful, wonderful experience. Every time I turned around, something new or someone new was introduced. I just couldn’t ask for anything greater, I guess. I just really enjoyed the whole thing.
“The couple that was sitting by us, they knew who had donated the seats, but they wouldn’t tell me who it was. I told them to tell this person I really appreciated it. They were so nice.
“I was looking out across the floor, and I don’t remember now if it was a break when they had a timeout, but all of a sudden someone sat in my lap. I was so surprised. It was Rumble. He sat in my lap, put his arms around me. There was a man with a camera there, and he took pictures of us. I don’t know how they knew I was sitting there. But anyway, I got a big hug from Rumble, and that was another thing I thought was great. Rumble gave me a shirt with his picture on it.
“They showed me where KD’s brother was and who he was. When we left, he was still sitting there. So I stopped and said hello to him and visited with him just a little bit.
“I was so surprised, after the game was over, we were talking to some people, and Clay Bennett came over. He introduced himself, and he put his arm around me. They took pictures of us. We talked about several different things. I was so surprised.
“It was just a wonderful, wonderful experience. It was just something unexpected. I’ve just been on a high, I’d guess you’d say.
“You see things you had no idea was going on, because it doesn’t show it on television. I watched the game last night, and I thought, boy, you really do miss a lot of things, don’t you? When I was watching last night, I’d think about all the things I saw.
“It was a remarkable evening. A remarkable week.”