Competition on the park blacktop can be intense. Trash talk, bravado, and showmanship typically reign supreme.
It’s one of the last places one would expect to find a coordinated show of respect and empathy. But on April 20 in Denham Springs, Louisiana, that’s exactly what happened.
Two sisters were in a funeral procession when they saw something incredible through the car window.
Lynn Bienvenu and Johannah Stroud are sisters who were mourning the loss of their recently departed cousin. While en route with the funeral procession, they drove by Franklinton Junior High School where a group of kids were playing basketball.
Kids have a reputation of being aloof to such matters, and none of the mourners would have batted an eye if they’d continued shooting without pause. But that’s not what they did.
Instead of staring blankly at the parade of cars, or worse, ignoring the funeral procession altogether, the kids decided to show courtesy. Without being prompted, they stopped chucking up the basketball to honor the departed.
Every one of the kids dropped to one knee, waiting for the procession to pass before resuming play.
The sisters were both caught completely off guard by the thoughtfulness being shown by the group of kids. Stroud quickly reached for her phone and snapped a picture of the gesture.
“They took a knee not out of disrespect but honor,” Bienvenu said in a Facebook post. “There was not an adult [in sight] to tell them to stop playing.”
The photo of the boys on one knee spread quickly and has now been liked and shared thousands of times. But even in light of the the post’s popularity, the respectful gesture is still what meant the most to the sisters.
“It was really impressive. It meant a lot,” Stroud said to Inside Edition.
Bienvenu was contacted by some of the boys wanting to extend condolences.
The boys didn’t know the deceased personally, but they’ve been taught by faculty and staff at school to show respect to the deceased. Franklinton Junior High School is located along a main road and funeral processions are common.
As she now knew their names, Bienvenu wanted to acknowledge them by name for what they did.
The names of the 10 teens on the basketball court that day were: Shimar Davis, Shimon Davis, Edward James, Brandon Burton, Quindon Burris, Stacy Ard, James Bickham, Avant Money, Malachi Martin and Kalarrian Dillon.
In times of grief, acts of kindness like this are what help the bereaved cope. For Bienvenu and Stroud, the gesture meant more than the kids could have realized when they decided to drop to a knee.
“We don’t have to do great acts to show kindness. Just something as simple as that, or opening a door, or being kind to someone, or respectful,” Bienvenu said.
“This meant a great deal to our family. May God bless each one as I feel they will achieve greatness.”