LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - A woman in Lowndes County says that her son’s middle school gave her a moment that she’ll never forget when they gave her special needs son a very special birthday present.
“They go above and beyond," said Keira Jones, Justus Flanigan’s mother.
Jones is a mother to a son with Down Syndrome, who’s teachers and coaches decided it was time for him to make his big debut on the court.
“For them to do that, it was just nice," said Jones.
Jones says that her 6th grader, Justus, who’s family and friends call him Juice, loves basketball, so he got in the game and stole the show.
“We were in tears and I’m not a crier. I hate crying as you can tell but we were all it in tears. It was like ‘yes," said Jones, as she clapped.
Jones said in the beginning, she wasn’t sure if he would get on the court because of the large crowd.
“We had tried to prep him, that day. The teachers did. He was like ‘no. no. I’m not going to do it.' So, we were kind of saying okay. I was even bribing him with a strawberry slush," said Jones.
The slush didn’t work but the roar of the crowd did.
“He likes attention. It’s weird, I know, but he loves the attention so when the crowd was like ‘yeah,’ he was like ‘what?’ So yeah, he’s a handful," said Jones.
When he got on the court, he missed his first shot but with a little encouragement from his coach, he made the next one.
“He was like ‘JUICE!’ He shot it again and he made it! It was awesome. You had to be there to see it. It was good," said Jones.
“Yeah, I did. I shot a basket," said Justus. "Yeah, I made it.”
Jones said that there’s a message that comes out of all of this.
“Even though they’re different, you know treat them the same, or just be kind. A kind gesture like this will go a long way," said Jones.
And she says that it is a memory that her family will cherish forever.
“And we’ll have it on video to show him, ‘Hey! You got this. Regardless of how different you are, you got it,'" said Jones.
The teachers, students, and staff at Pine Grove Middle School said that Justus’ personality is infectious and that he is a joy to be around.