A Dream to Be King
K.L. Norwood wanted nothing more than to be crowned homecoming king of his high school. As the manager of the football team, the choice came down between him and his friend, the quarterback, Max Akin. So, when Max was crowned king at the annual homecoming game, he couldn’t help but be somewhat crushed.
But then, Max did something unexpected that ended with the entire school chanting his name. You won’t believe this heartwarming story of kindness, friendship, and sacrifice.
The Most Popular Guy in School
Max Akin could best be described as one of the most popular students at Fossil Ridge High School located in Fort Worth, Texas. The football team’s quarterback, he was known not only for being a great player but having a big heart as well. In fact, one amazing gesture he made for his good friend would land him national attention and even get him invited onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
It was the night of the homecoming game in September 2016 and Akin had just scored four touchdowns during the first half of the game. It was an electric night and one that would be remembered by the student body for months to come, but not for reasons you would expect.
Akin did something else that night that would leave everyone speechless.
A Prestigious Title
The young athlete knew he had been nominated for homecoming king by his peers. And when his name was announced as the winner, he humbly accepted the crown. It was a memorable and defining moment for the 17-year-old, but what he did next was a shining example of his incredible character.
The Expected Photos
Before the incredible moment that everyone would be buzzing about, Akin needed to take the obligatory king and queen photos. After the photos, Akin began to search the crowd for someone. Who could it be?
Spotted In the Crowd
After a few moments, Akin spotted who he was looking for and called over a fellow student, K.L. Norwood, his football team manager, friend, and fellow homecoming king nominee. At first, K.L. was confused, but he would soon realize what was going on.
Overcoming His Disability
K.L had cerebral palsy and had overcome a lot of adversity in his life. Being the manager of the football team was one of his greatest joys and the fact he had been nominated to be homecoming king was an honor in itself. As he approached Akin on the field, he was shocked when the quarterback took to one knee and held out his crown to him.
What was going on?
A Wonderful Gesture
In a kind gesture, Akin was offering his homecoming king crown to one his dearest friends. He quickly gave him a hug and whispered, “I love you” before handing him the crown.
To say K.L. was stunned and overjoyed would be an understatement.
The Crowd Erupts
The moment was a definite crowd pleaser, and the students took to their feet in the stands, chanting Norwood’s name. For Norwood, it was one of the greatest moments of his life. “He’s my favorite quarterback, for sure,” Norwood told the local news.
Many may wonder why Akin decided to give up the homecoming king title and the crown to Norwood and he told Today that ever since the nominations were made public, he knew Norwood deserved it. No matter what the outcome, it was his friend who should have earned the crown more than him.
The Right Person
“I think it should’ve gone to the person who positively uplifts the school and everybody around him,” Akin stated, “That person is K.L., for sure.”
Well-Known Among His Peers
According to Akin, K.L. was quite popular with the student body as well. He may not have been an athlete, but his infectious spirit really made an impact on those around him. “Everybody in the school loves K.L. You see him walking down the hallway, and he’s shaking at least 12 hands at a time.”
A Football Favorite
Of course, being the team manager, Norwood was most popular with the football team. This is mostly due to his uplifting nature, which made a positive impact on the players. Akin revealed, “At practice, all the football guys love having him around because he’ll laugh at your jokes and make you feel a lot funnier than you actually are, me especially.”
While to outsiders, Akin’s gesture to his friend would appear shocking; however, among the students and teachers at this school it just who Akin was on an everyday basis. He was known for being generous and kind, with an unconditional love for his friends and fellow peers.
We certainly need more people in the world like him.
Respectful of Others
“He treats everyone like that, which is why he gets along with everyone… He’s just a great spirit,” his football coach, Tony Baccarini stated. One example of his selflessness was that he didn’t even submit a campaign video to become homecoming king. He wanted other students to have a chance to shine.
Another’s Turn to Shine
For Akin, being the quarterback came with the perks of being popular and a certain level of status in school socially. He didn’t think it would be a fair selection process if he were to campaign hard for the title of homecoming king.
Of course, the story of Max and K.L. would quickly be picked up by media outlets across the nation. Soon it would go viral and lead to many appearances on the news and select talk shows. Of course, Akin worked hard to play down his generosity, shifting the focus as a way to spread a message of kindness and hope.
Spread Compassion Not Hate
“As corny as it may sound, treat everyone as you deserve to be treated, just like K.L. does every day,” Akin stated. “It’s important that we spread a little bit of love and compassion around.”
Ellen Takes Notice
One celebrity that took notice of Akin and Norwood’s story was Ellen DeGeneres, who brought them both on the show and was blown away by their friendship and Akin’s kindness. Akin revealed that they had known each other since 5thgrade but had really grown close in high school. He wanted to be clear that he didn’t give the crown to his friend due to his disability, but because he loved him and felt he deserved it.
A Great Human Being
Ellen, so moved by their friendship and Akin’s gesture presented both of the students with checks for $10,000 each. Something we feel they both deserved. Akin closed out his moment in the spotlight with this: “ I don’t see K.L. as a disabled person; I see him as a great human being. And as a homecoming king, you should really be able to make people happy and give good vibes all over the room, and K.L. never fails at doing that.”