CHANDLER, Ariz. - A blossoming friendship between a Cardinals player and a Valley family is capturing hearts online, and it all started with a little boy's belief in his favorite team.
The power of words of encouragement is what Abner Wong embodies. The East Valley child is inspiring even an NFL player to be the best he can be ahead of the season.
A simple act of kindness started it all.
"It was just a great moment to encourage them, and make them think that they could win if they had a little bit more confidence," Wong said.
The Wong family stands with Cardinals tight end Trey McBride. (Wong Family)
Wong and his dad, Jeff, went to watch the Cardinals’ pre-season game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
At half-time, the team was trailing behind. As players ran through the tunnel…Abner tried to cheer them up.
"I said, ‘You got this, Cardinals!’" Wong said.
Moved, Cardinals’ tight end Trey McBride handed over a token of thanks to his little fan in the stands: a towel.
Abner wasn’t able to see his favorite football team win that night, but he was about to score something even better.
"I thought that would be really cool if we could get the towel signed, and there’s a Facebook post called ‘Go Gilbert’, so I hopped online and told the story," said Abner's mother Jessica.
The right people saw his mom’s post at the right time.
Trey McBride reached out to the Wongs, and he had more than just a signed towel in mind.
Abner got an experience that most kids would only dream of: a whole afternoon with McBride in downtown Chandler.
They grabbed burgers as Trey signed his jersey.
Trey McBride signs Abner Wong's Cards jersey. (Wong Family)
"I wasn’t expecting to have lunch with an NFL player!" said Jeff, Abner's dad. "So it’s pretty amazing!"
Then dessert at Pie Snob, and even some one-on-one playing time.
"I got to learn a lot about him, and we had a great time together," Abner said.
The Wong family talks a walk to Pie Snob with Trey McBride. (Wong Family)
The beginning of a friendship, built on encouragement and a positive spirit.
As for the Cardinals this season, Abner knows many are counting them out, but shares this message to Trey and his teammates.
"Your words are very powerful," Abner said. "So if you think positive, and you tell yourself that you can do this and keep moving on, and you keep thinking good, you’ll always be able to."
Maybe that’s just the right words the Cards need to hear ahead of their first season game this Sunday facing the Washington Commanders.