During the course of a short 100-meter sprint down the track, two elementary school boys, opponents and strangers, became friends.
Darius Kruah and Aaren Crane had never met one another when they were slated to race in the same 100-meter heat during their track meet in North Augusta, South Carolina.
“They called us down there to get in the lane and we had to get inside the lane,” Darius, who attends Mossy Creek Elementary School, said of the moment before his race began.
In the lane next to him was Aaren, who attends Merriwether Elementary School.
The boys sprinted down the track toward the finish line, neck-and-neck, when suddenly, Aaren tripped and fell.
“I don’t think I got that far before I fell,” Aaren recalled.
Aaren put his hands out to try and break the fall and ended up fracturing his wrist.
Looking up from the ground, Aaren saw Darius running back in his direction, and assumed his opponent had already won the race.
“I already thought he won the race and was coming back to sit in the bleachers. But then I saw teachers like looking at him like, ‘Why’d you stop?’” Aaren told WRDW-TV.
But Darius had chosen not to run to the finish line, and instead, turned around to check on his opponent to see if he was OK.
It was a selfless gesture of sportsmanship and kindness that has left the community proud of the young athlete.
“He got hurt and he wasn’t going to be able to win the race and that wouldn’t be fair, so I just thought that I would just lose the race with him just to help him and see if he was okay,” Darius said.
Darius was not seeking praise and accolades for helping, he simply believes in the power of kindness.
“If you help someone, they could go on and help someone and they keep on going and help people, too,” Darius said.
Aaren, who went to the hospital with his family to treat his fractured wrist, was filled with gratitude that an opponent would do something so kind, especially on behalf of a kid he had never met.
“You could’ve run the race, but instead of doing that, you had sportsmanship and came over and helped me,” Aaren said.
According to WRDW, Aaren and his family had their opportunity to pay it forward almost immediately after Aaren’s accident. When the family saw a motorist stranded on the side of the road with their vehicle on fire, it was Aaren, wrist pain and all, who insisted his family stop to help.