A high school cross-country running star has gone viral for an act of spontaneous generosity. After breaking the course record at a running meet in Orono, Maine, she promptly gifted her gold medal to a blind runner from a competing school in recognition of his commitment to their shared love.
Sophomore Ruth White of Orono High School told Noah Carver of Washington Academy how proud she was of him after the run.
Amazingly, nobody knew the kind act had taken place until running coach Cindy Moore-Rossi uploaded the heartwarming photos to Facebook the day after the Annual Orono Red Riot Championship Race at Orono High School on Oct. 9.
“We all were talking and laughing when this fine young lady walked up to [Noah] and stood before him with no fanfare, no special attention,” Cindy wrote on a Facebook post that has since been deleted. Cindy, who has coached cross-country running at Machias Memorial High School for 25 years and Jonesport Beals High School for 12, had her camera in hand as Ruth’s act of kindness unfolded.
“That young lady took her medal off and placed it over Noah’s head. She told him how proud she was of him and she wanted him to have her record course breaking medal,” Cindy said.
Noah’s father and sighted guide, Richard Buzz Carver, his mother and his coach, Suzanne Carver, along with coach Carol Smith watched in amazement while Cindy recalls having tears dripping from her eyes.
Meanwhile, Noah, who has been blind since birth, and running alongside his father since the age of 5, was blown away by Ruth’s gesture.
“I felt that she really recognized me as an athlete rather than the blind kid first,” the teen told News Center Maine. “And I felt that that was very significant, also.”
Moments before, Ruth broke the record by flying over the finish line at 14:29:05 to a cheering crowd.
For Cindy, witnessing record-breaking Ruth running is itself an experience. “She runs with pure enjoyment, and I swear she never appears to even sweat. She seems to just float on air,” Cindy wrote on the Facebook post.
Cindy has known Noah since he was a little boy and counts his family as friends. The Orono Red Riot Championship Race is one of her favorite events, owing to its family-oriented atmosphere and inclusivity.
“I’m color blind to the color of a school uniform,” she told The Epoch Times, “so I cheer loudly for all teams.”
Noah, who has run all the season’s courses with his father, just like every other runner, “has no fear,” Cindy said in a Facebook post. “He knows commitment, he works hard, he never gives up.”
“He is another one of those athletes that is a class act,” she added.
Still in shock that her photos went viral, Cindy supposes the story came at a time when people needed their faith restored, that good things still happen.
“Ruth, you may never see this message, but I want you to know you made this old coach’s heart very happy,” said Cindy. “Your one simple act of good sportsmanship and kindness will never leave my memory … Sports do not build character, they reveal it.”