With an assist from Twitter, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow and Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin had a chance to lift the spirits of two teenagers who remain hospitalized after a car accident that claimed the lives of two of their friends.
On Saturday night, high school students Chris Stewart, Deanna Rivers, Matt Hardy and Bailey Wind were involved in a car accident in upstate New York. Stewart and Rivers did not survive the two-car crash. According to police, the driver of the other car was under the influence of alcohol when he veered into the vehicle carrying the four teens, via WNYT in Albany.
Hardy is a junior at Shenendehowa High School, who plays football, baseball and basketball, according to the Berkshire Eagle. On Monday night, he was in stable condition at Albany Medical Center with a concussion and broken bones. Wind, a member of the diving team at Shaker High School, per the Times Union, remained in serious condition on Monday night with broken bones.
Early on Monday evening, the hashtag #TebowCallMatt began turning up in many tweets in hopes of connecting Hardy with one of his heroes, with many tweeting directly to @TimTebow. The Times Union reports that the hashtag appeared in 50,000 tweets by 7 p.m., citing data from Hashtag.org. After #TebowCallMatt began trending, Matt's brother, Mike, shared his appreciation.
A short while later, Mike had another message for everyone who had become interested in the campaign.
Less than 30 minutes later, Tebow confirmed that he had called Matt.
As #TebowCallMatt was trending, Wind was the focal point of another Twitter campaign: #MissyCallBailey. This hashtag was retweeted 16,000 times, according to ESPN New York. Like Tebow, Franklin learned of the hashtag and the tragic story inspiring it and reached out.