As he waited for a technician at a Salt Lake City Apple store to examine his broken iPhone on Wednesday, Andrew Simeona’s brother struck up a conversation with a friendly fellow customer standing nearby.
He had no idea the man he was speaking with was Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, nor did he have any inkling that the NBA rookie-of-the-year runner-up was about to make him a fan for life.
When the Apple store technician finally came over a few minutes later, he delivered some bad news for Simeona’s brother. The phone’s shattered screen required an expensive repair job, one Simeona’s brother couldn’t afford.
“My brother said, ‘Oh, it’s OK,’ and took his broken phone back,” Simeona said. “Donovan overheard all this and he could tell my brother was disappointed. He spoke up and said, ‘Well, how much is it?’ Then he intervened and covered the cost of the repair.”
Simeona’s brother still had no idea who came to his rescue until after Mitchell left. That’s when the Apple technician approached him again and said, “You realize that’s Donovan Mitchell, right?”
Shocked and a little sheepish, Simeona’s brother admitted he had no idea. Then he raced home to tell the rest of his family about his crazy experience.
“It meant the world to my brother,” Simeona said. “He was in a bit of a bind, and Donovan saw the opportunity to help him out.
“It speaks volumes about the kind of guy that Donovan is. There’s a ton of gratitude from our end. It goes to show you this guy really is trying to do good things and be a decent guy out in the community. He gets so much respect from us about that.”
Simeona declined to reveal his brother’s name because he didn’t want to publicize the fact that his brother has a learning disability that affects his speech and his ability to process information quickly. It’s not clear if that contributed to Mitchell’s decision to help out, but Simeona said, “I’m assuming Donovan noticed that.”
Late Wednesday night, Simeona posted on Twitter about Mitchell’s compassionate gesture. The second-year pro responded Thursday morning, telling Simeona, “All love, Glad I could help!”
All love ✊🏽 glad I could help! https://t.co/DS0Rd6wcZi
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) August 2, 2018
Within hours, the story spread quickly on social media, something Simeona did not anticipate when he shared it the previous night.
Said Simeona, “I’m surprised by the attention this has gotten but not by what happened. That’s just the kind of guy Donovan Mitchell is.”
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