Partially deaf twins get a huge surprise from Derrick Coleman
It's been a month of surprises and once in a lifetime encounters for 9-year-old twins Riley and Erin Kovalcik, who are partially deaf.
Their idol, Seattle Seahawks' Derrick Coleman, walked in on an interview they were giving.
The girls' chins hit the floor and their mouths opened wide. They stared at Coleman as he said hello.
At first speechless, Erin then said, "Are you really?"
Coleman responded, "I am, really, in the flesh. How are you doing?"
It was a precious moment for all three, initially prompted by a letter Riley wrote that said, in part, "Dear my inspiration Derrick Coleman. ... Thank you for getting me this far, and inspiring me to write all these letters and stuff like that. Here are things we have in common: I wear two hearing aids and I love sports. And good luck at the Super Bowl."
Riley and her twin Erin live in New Jersey. So how did they even know about a guy who plays for the Seahawks?
Their mom showed them the Duracell commercial that features Coleman.
Doctors diagnosed him as deaf, at age 3. People had given up on him, even after he started wearing hearing aids.
He explained this week at a Super Bowl press conference that from school to school, team to team, either he or his mom would take the coach aside and explain, saying, just talk a little louder.
After learning that a young man with the same disability they have is playing football in the NFL, Riley and Erin said they just had to contact him.
Their dad tweeted their letter to Coleman, who tweeted back: "Even though we wear hearing aids we can still accomplish our goals and dreams."
Riley and Erin said they love football. The girls explained that they played it with their cousins and that football changed everything for them.
That statement couldn't be more true, now that they've gained the friendship of the first deaf player in the NFL.
Coleman says he doesn't like to say it all the time, but he does sometimes say, "Hey, look at me." He says it to show others with a disability that you can achieve your dreams. He said he is the person he is today because he never used any excuses, and his parents didn't treat him any differently just because he was deaf.
And if meeting their idol wouldn't be enough to talk about for years to come, there's more.
On top of the fact that he took time out of his super-busy Super Bowl week to meet the girls, he also had a gift for his young fans.
Reaching into the duffel bag Coleman carried, he pulled out a large envelope and said, "So on behalf of Duracell we want to invite you to the Super Bowl."
The girls asked, "Really?" Coleman responded, "Really!"
The Kovalcik family lives just 40 minutes away from the game and the whole family gets to go the tailgate party and the Super Bowl on Sunday to watch Coleman in action on the field with the Seattle Seahawks.