Kentucky coal miner Micheal McGuire had just finished work and was covered in soot when he rushed to watch a Kentucky Wildcats play a UK basketball team with his young son and wife.
The man’s appearance caught a lot of attention — including the eye of the University of Kentucky’s head coach John Calipari.
McGuire’s commitment not only to his wife and son but to the team itself moved Calipari — and the UK basketball team — that Calipari decided to post about the coal miner’s presence at the game and even offered VIP treatment to the family.
According to WKYT-TV, the coach said he would provide free tickets to the miner and his family for a future home game at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Social media users and UK fans helped Calipari identify the coal miner as McGuire, who then told the local news outlet he had to make a choice on game day.
“It was either go straight [to the game],” he said, “or miss half the game to go home and take a shower and everything.”
McGuire was back at work underground when the Wildcats coach shared the photo to his social media accounts. It wasn’t until hours later that he saw Calipari’s kind-hearted gesture.
McGuire said, “When I got out and got service on my way home, it went crazy. I couldn’t believe that it was real. It’s mind-blowing that everybody came together like that.”
McGuire’s wife, Mollie, wrote a statement praising her husband in a Facebook post of her own.
“He is an employee of Excel Mining (Alliance Coal) and works hard to provide for our family,” she wrote. “It doesn’t matter to him how long he has worked or how hard his day is. He is always there and shows up for our babies! He is the most selfless man ever and always puts his family first! Our babies absolutely adore him and Easton, our son, tells people he is a coal miner like his daddy.”
“We are beyond blessed and thankful!” she added.
In the post by John Calipari, the Wildcats coach, he said,
My family’s American dream started in a Clarksburg, WV coal mine, so this picture hits home.
From what I’ve been told, after his shift, he raced to be with his son & watch our team. Don’t know who this is, but I have tickets for him & his family at Rupp to be treated as VIPs!! pic.twitter.com/a5BJXUnK2v
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) October 24, 2022