Tom Brady, who has taken heat for the deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game, inflated the spirits of one young boy with Down Syndrome when he invited him for an impromptu ride on a duck boat during the New England Patriots victory parade.
Brayden Gero, 10, and his family, including his dad, Jarrod, a police officer, got all-access passes to the parade from Police Commissioner William Evans so Brayden could meet the Patriots before the parade started. Brayden got his jersey signed by the Patriots, then went up to Brady. He recalled later , “I said, ’12. What’s happening, 12?’ Then I gave him a bro hug,” adding, “He’s really cool.” He said that meeting Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman was “Awesome, awesome, awesome!”
Meanwhile, Jarrod looked at the boat and noticed that there weren’t too many players on it. He took the opportunity to make a request of Brady. “It was kind of impromptu,” Gero said. “It was kind of light. There weren’t too many people on it. So I asked him if we could ride with him on the boat and he said, “Absolutely. Come on up.'”
Brayden’s six-year-old sister rode, too, and both got to meet Brayden’s favorite Patriot, Rob Gronkowski. Brayden’s take on Gronk? “He’s a good guy. Awesome.”
The Gero family needed a break. Jarrod was hit by a car at Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s funeral and his wife has been sick, so the Brady invitation was a godsend. Jarrod said, “I’m just glad that he had a great time on the duck boat and got to meet Tom Brady.”
Gero recorded the parade, and said the family is planning on watching it over and over.
Brayden has met other celebrities, too; last year his dad was honored for his work on the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bomber, and Barack Obama showed up and greeted Brayden.