We forget, sometimes, that athletes can be normal people, too.
So perhaps it was no more than a stroke of being nice that pushed Joe Wieskamp to the University of Iowa Hospital recently to make a surprise visit to one of his bigger fans.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Wieskamp stopped by the room of 89-year-old Verna Satterthwaite recently after her granddaughter sent Wieskamp a message on Facebook asking if he could stop by.
“I took a shot in the dark,” posted Amber Flambeau Schierberg, “messaged him (on Facebook) letting him know how much my grandma loves him, prayed he wouldn’t think I was a crazy stalker, and then pressed ‘send message’ — two days later, Joe messaged me back!”
Wieskamp, who played high school basketball at Muscatine, Iowa, took around a half-hour to visit Satterthwaite, he told reporters Wednesday.
“She was kind of in awe at first and teared up a little bit,” Wieskamp said.
Wieskamp said he doesn’t check his Facebook messenger often but happened to this past week. When he saw this request, he couldn’t help but say yes.
“That’s the right thing to do. … It’s crazy that 20 minutes, 30 minutes of my day could impact that person’s life so much as well as everyone else that saw it,” he said.
The story has made the viral rounds, with 1,750 people sharing Schierberg’s Facebook post and another 2,000-plus liking a tweet from someone who grabbed pictures of the post.
Wieskamp was surprised at the instant notoriety, but that doesn’t change his outlook on helping anyone in need. He said the team makes regular visits to the children’s wing of the hospital system on occasion as well.
“That’s just the right thing to do. We’re kind of put on a stage, so the best thing to do is use that to the best of our ability.”
Hawk Central’s Mark Emmert contributed to this report.