7-year-old Elijah Cymone rides away with a toy Polaris Slingshot given to him by Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs The Detroit News
Hamtramck – It’s been nearly two weeks since 7-year-old Elijah Cymone had his favorite birthday present, a toy Polaris Slingshot by Peg Perego, stolen from his front porch in Hamtramck.
When he was escorted home from school Tuesday with a blindfold covering his eyes, he found the surprise of his life waiting in the street: Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs was standing beside a full-size Slingshot with a replacement of Elijah’s toy ride sitting in the passenger seat.
“It’s a blessing to be able to do things like this,” Diggs said. “We’re normal people too, and we understand some of the problems that’s going through in the community.”
Elijah’s mother, Jazmine, said that after the theft occurred on Sept. 6, she reached out to a few news outlets to help identify the perpetrator caught on surveillance camera. A few days later, a police officer came to the house and put her in touch with a representative of local Polaris dealer Rosenau Powersports.
“It’s just one of the best feelings ever,” she said. “It couldn’t bring any more joy to me.”
Jasmine, who was in the process of saving up for a replacement toy for Elijah before being notified of the planned surprise, said her son hasn’t been able to take his mind off the loss of his toy since it occurred.
“For the last two weeks, he’s just been walking around asking questions like, ‘Why do people have to steal from me?’ ” she said.
Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs surprises 7-year-old Elijah Cymone with replacement of toy Slingshot stolen from his Hamtramck home The Detroit News
The moment Diggs set the mini slingshot on the sidewalk, all of that went away. Elijah hopped in and tore down the sidewalk.
Elijah said that he was “surprised” to see a player from his favorite football team standing with his new toy, which is his “favorite color,” red.
Diggs, who has nephews Elijah’s age, said that the story hit close to home when his agency notified him about the situation.
“If something like that happened to my nephews, I would be the first one to get things fixed,” Diggs said. “I just wanted to problem solve the best way I could.”
Brandon Tishma of Rosenau Powerports said his dealership was contacted by Polaris to facilitate the surprise, and that Rosenau "jumped right on board" when informed of the plan.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.