It had been a normal day at Villa Rica Elementary School for Adam Mauldin Friday, until he heard from his mother. Her car, she told Adam, had broken down on her way to pick him up from school.
But before school was dismissed for the day, students had assembled in the gym, and Adam was in for a surprise.
On the day the school year ended last May, Adam was injured in a jet ski accident. His injuries were life-threatening and so severe that he remained in the hospital until October.
“It was an awful thing to happen to one of our students,” said VRES Principal Mitch Springer. “He had 12 surgeries, which is absolutely horrible, but also he had to miss time from his social life in school, and that is a lot on a kid.”
Adam, though, would get support. Dream On 3, a wish-granting organization that serves children with chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities, or life-altering conditions, heard about Adam's situation and selected him as a "Dream Kid."
“We do this to inspire kids, but it is not just what it does for the Dream Kid, but also everybody else, such as the family, the kids, staff and the community; and this is a great community,” said Elizabeth Lindsey, co-founder and executive director of Dream On 3. “This brings people together.”
Springer said the reaction to what happened to Adam shows how compassionate people can be for others.
“And this is also heartwarming because it is not happening to a student who is in a big city,” said Springer. “This is happening in our town to a student who is going to remember this for the rest of their life.”
The students and staff who had assembled in the gym Friday weren't aware of what was to happen. Adam was called to the center of the court to hear what Dream On 3 would tell him -- that he and his family would be spending the weekend with the Atlanta Falcons.
“I am really excited and I was so surprised,” Adam said. “I had no idea and it was a complete surprise.”
Not only was Adam told he will be spending this weekend with the Falcons when they play the Minnesota Vikings, but that he will be receiving a VIP tour of SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, Braves tickets for next season and special gifts.
When Adam goes to see the Falcons, he will be announced as an honorary team captain. He and his family will go to the Falcons practice facility and have the chance to meet with Adam's hero, quarterback Matt Ryan. And at Sunday's Falcons-Vikings game, Adam will participate in the coin toss.
After hearing Friday how he would spend the weekend with his family, Adam was given an authentic Falcons Jersey with his name on it.