Meredith Hammond has sent fewer than 20 tweets in the past seven years.
The Englewood, Tenn., resident learned over the weekend just how powerful social media can be when it involves Tennessee football.
Hammond, 36, wanted to find a way to thank Tennessee quarterbacks coach Mike Canales for volunteering to give up his seat on a flight from Atlanta to Knoxville on Saturday morning so the plane could take off as scheduled.
After a long business trip to Las Vegas, Hammond was trying to make it home in time to see her son play in a baseball tournament on Saturday afternoon. Canales was returning from a recruiting trip.
Hammond got on Twitter and sent a note of gratitude to Canales. Once Canales re-tweeted it, stories began appearing about his act of goodwill on the day before Mother’s Day.
Although Hammond was glad to see Canales get the positive publicity, there were a few details left unexplained by 140 characters.
Canales didn’t give up his seat specifically for Hammond. After announcing the plane had too much fuel, the flight attendants asked for six volunteers to take a later flight while also receiving vouchers.
Hammond may never have needed to give up her seat, but the fear alone made her grateful for Canales and the other five volunteers.
“My husband woke me up Sunday morning and the story had evolved a little bit more than what really happened,” Hammond said Monday afternoon. “Nobody reached out to me before writing those other stories. I hadn’t spoken to anyone other than just family. It kind of cracks me up how it took on a life of its own.”
Once she was in Atlanta for a three-hour layover, she noticed a Tennessee football backpack sitting beside her in the terminal.
“I texted my husband and asked if he knew who this guy was and he told me it was Mike Canales,” she said. “I didn’t think anything about it getting on the plane until they made the announcement they had over-fueled it by 1,200 pounds. Initially my heart sank because I didn’t want to be stuck in Atlanta. Then I saw him pop up and say he’d been gone three weeks so what is another couple of hours. It was a really nice gesture. He didn’t have to do that.”
After Hammond reached out to Canales on Twitter, he responded by wishing her son good luck and told him to hit a home run. Bryce delivered on the promise without even knowing about the request.
“It was the first home run of his life,” Hammond said. “His team ended up winning the championship. It was really exciting for everyone.”
Hammond is a Tennessee graduate. Her family tailgates at all the football games and attends numerous basketball games.
Despite the slight social media stir it caused, Hammond will always remember her encounter with Canales for the joy it brought her on Mother’s Day weekend.
“The last thing he said was he would love to shake my son’s hand someday,” Hammond said. “I hope down the road my son will have the opportunity to get to meet him and say thank you for being a good guy. With all the negative stuff we see around, it’s nice to have good people around that do the right thing.”