I work on the SET (Special Event Team) for the University of Montana, and I, along with a campus police officer, Rich, were asked to escort Mr. Tebow from his vehicle into the field house and then back to the vehicle after his presentation. We were also on hand during the presentation, just in case.
When Mr. Tebow arrived and got out of his vehicle, we shook hands and he said hello. We then escorted him into the building. The picture from the Missoulian with him signing a football was taken at this time. Rich is beside him, and you can see the top of my head over Mr. Tebow’s left shoulder. The person to his right, and the one over his right shoulder were with him in the same vehicle. There were others in two separate vehicles behind us. The only other people in the back compound were ESPN people setting up to air the Big Sky Championship basketball game last night. (I also worked security at that game, but that’s a different story.) It was one of the ESPN people that asked him to sing the football that he is signing in the picture.
We got into the tunnel that goes down into the field house and I had a chance to briefly talk with Mr. Tebow. We talked a little about his time in Montana, and then about that night’s basketball game. He was a really nice guy. Then he and the people that arrived with him said a short prayer and he went out to address the crowd.
It wasn’t a typical speech like I expected, but rather a question and answer session with several prearranged interviewers. While he has answered the questions before, I felt his answers were honest and forthright, and he is a very good role model, something he really wants to be. It’s nice to have a really good person trying to make a positive difference.
When the presentation was over, we were escorting him back up the tunnel when a young boy and his father came running up behind us. Mr. Tebow signed the ball the boy had and took a moment with him. Then we continued toward the vehicles. Once he was inside, Rich and I figured we were done.
However, as the vehicle drove out of the compound onto the main campus drive, which had a long line of cars, a familiar figure to all UM Basketball fans came riding across the parking lot next to the compound in his motorized wheelchair. Mr. Tebow’s vehicle stopped, blocking traffic, and he jumped out to go see the man. Rich and I headed over to control traffic and make sure all went okay. It did. Mr. Tebow signed something, took a photo with him, and spoke for a minute or so. Then he got back into his vehicle and we got traffic flowing again. Rich and I both commented that it was nice of him to do that, and that he really is a nice and genuine person. Paul, who works for UM Athletics, and was guarding the compound parking lot, also commented the same thing, and later told the paper about what happened.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet him and to listen to the presentation at the University. I was very impressed, especially seeing him “behind the scenes” in the tunnel and out in the middle of campus drive. It’s refreshing to see a positive role model like that, and I for one know who I’ll be pulling and rooting for when he’s leading the Denver Broncos.