I like to think that most people are good. That, even on the Internet, there are certain lines that no one who considers themselves a human being would cross.
Neil Markham attended a Tottenham Hotspur soccer match with his young daughter, Ella. Ella, who lives with Down’s Syndrome, has such a great outlook on life that, though her team lost to West Ham, she still smiled and danced in the stadium. Neil filmed the cheerful video of his daughter and posted it online.
Quickly, he and his daughter were flooded with hateful messages. Sour losers slinging verbal abuse after they were upset by the match’s result and couldn’t stomach seeing a little girl happy for the sake of being happy. “Ella was being called all sorts of names, [people were] laughing at her in terms of the way she was dancing and the way she looked. It was genuinely one of the worst nights of my life,” Neil said.
But when the abuse was at its worst, the tide suddenly shifted. Neil and Ella began to instead receive hundreds of messages of support. “I’ve received messages from famous people, family, friends, and people I’ve never met in my life.” The tables had turned on the trolls.
Ella’s favorite player, Harry Kane, personally invited Ella to be the official mascot of the Spurs in their final game of the season.
Harry Kane has kindly invited 16-year old Ella Markham to be the mascot at our last game of the season against Everton.
— Lilywhite Spurs (@Lilywhite_Spurs) May 1, 2019
“I just want to thank you for your amazing support. Your family are proud of you as well.”
“We know you’re a big fan and we’d love for you to come down and be a mascot for the last game of the season.”
“Keep dancing and keep doing what you’re doing, lots of love.”
A spokesperson for the Tottenham Hotspurs confirmed that Ella will be the mascot for the May 12th match against Everton. They also confirmed the team and the organization was doing everything in their power to “identify those responsible for these (negative) posts and take appropriate action.”
Good on Mr. Kane for ensuring that Ella has the best possible stage to show off her dancing. I for one, can’t wait to see.