A young Dallas Cowboys fan has stolen the hearts of several popular players. And if you give her a chance, she’ll steal yours too.
For this biggest and most loyal of fans, Christmas came early.
Unwrapping a present days before Christmas is not usually what Viva Selena Lopez gets to do. But the present she was presented with this week comes from Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Ryan Switzer.
The package contained a Switzer jersey. The joyous moment was captured on Twitter and has been viewed nearly 100,000 times.
All it takes is a moment with Lopez and you can see why she deserves to wear the jersey.
For Lopez’s single mother, Mary Jane, having her daughter recognized this way means Viva gets to feel like she has a spot on the team.
“I don’t want her to feel different. To her, she’s not different,” Mary Jane said.
For the 22-year-old with Down syndrome, it’s a lot simpler.
“[He’s] so cute,” Viva said of her favorite player, Ryan Switzer.
Her confidence and charm caught Switzer’s eye at a holiday parade meet-and-greet two weeks ago in McAllen, Texas. Mom was there to capture the start of their friendship.
It’s not the autographed jerseys, photographs, and all the Cowboys memorabilia that make Lopez the greatest fan. It’s her sense of inclusion.
“Ryan Switzer is doing an amazing job at doing that by just looking past the disability,” said Esmeralda Leal, executive director of the Capable Kids Foundation.
Leal and her team help the Lopez family and 600 others with disabilities through community integration.
“We try to get them out there as much as we can so people can see what they’re capable of doing,” she said.
One of Viva’s favorite pastimes is weaving, a skill she hoped she can use in the labor market someday.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys super fan’s next big play is to one day go to a game.