INDIANAPOLIS –Black Friday was aptly named when Lori Diehl emerged from a business in the Indianapolis area and found her car broken into and her family's Christmas presents stolen.
It was a moment that set in motion a nice occurrence for Colts offensive guard Mike McGlynn and his wife, Megan, that will happen a week from now in Shelbyville.
On February 26, the McGlynn's will be honored with the "Pay It Forward" award from the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. It will be one of eight civic awards presented that evening.
The award will honor the McGlynn's for an act that saved a holiday.
"I came out of a business to find my car had been broken into and my family's Christmas presents were gone," said Lori Diehl. "The emotion of the moment was that I was stunned and devastated at the same time. This year had been really rough for our family and the reality of Christmas probably was not going to happen for us."
The Diehl family includes husband, Matt, and three children ranging from ages four to six months. Additionally, Matt was battling Hodgkin's lymphoma and had undergone 12 rounds of chemotherapy.
"We had had some wonderful friends and very caring people who stepped up through our church," said Diehl. "They had donated gift cards from different places to make Christmas happen for our kids. When I came out of the last store, I saw what happened. I felt devastated like I let those people down. I was shocked to find everything gone.
"We had a lot of people reach out to us. It was a large amount of blessings that came our way. The officer who reported to the scene offered me a breast pump since one had been taken among the gifts. A local TV station came to our door soon afterward and wanted to tell our story. From there, McGlynn and his wife heard about it and decided, 'We need to do something to help.' "
Megan indeed was watching, and she was saddened by the story. It was heart-breaking enough to spur action.
"Megan saw the story and spoke to me about helping them. We did that and hopefully helped them through that unfortunate time," said McGlynn. "We do charitable work, but this was one of the few times we've given a donation to a family. They were going through some rough times."
The donation guaranteed the Diehl's holidays would be a respite from troubled times.
"Their kindness and generosity was amazing, what they did for us," said Diehl. "The monetary donation to our family was wonderful. The conversation it made for us with our family was amazing. We have been trying to instill values, morals and religious beliefs in our son. It was a great way to show in the midst of hardship is blessing. You just have to turn over things (to God) and trust and have faith things will come. It's amazing to have that moment with your children."
Through a season ticket holder, the Diehl's were invited to the team's December 9 game with Tennessee, but a connection with McGlynn that day was not possible.
The McGlynn's and Diehl's now will meet at the event on February 26.
"I don't think the McGlynn's are ever going to realize truly what they did for us," said Diehl. "We were able to do a lot with the monetary gesture. It replaced what was taken that day. We put money in each of the kids' college fund, and we also used a portion to help another family who wouldn't have been able to have gifts for their kids as well. This was a full circle moment of blessings.
"Our son says his favorite player is Mike McGlynn, and his dad's favorite is Andrew Luck. "We are forever going to be fans of Mike. We are glad he's a Colt. They are an amazing family who blessed our family."
McGlynn will be entering his second season with the Colts. He started 16 games last year, toiling admirably on the offensive line.
It is a job on the field that provides the greatest amount of anonymity possible in a high-profile sport. The McGlynns did not plan for this spotlight away from the field, or for an award. They were paying a favor forward to people in need.
"They were Colts fans, but had no knowledge of me," said McGlynn. "It was nice to help them out. It was an unfortunate time. We're excited about the award. I just found out about it. I'm excited about going to meet the family. It's good to be recognized, but that's not what it was about. We wanted to help a family."