ALBANY, N.Y. – Getting a call from NFL player Tim Tebow or Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin won't undo the horrible tragedy of Saturday night's Northway accident, but it could give the two survivors the strength to endure.
On Monday, the Capital Region showed its strength and internet savvy when the hashtags #TebowCallMatt and #MissyCallBailey began trending on Twitter nationally.
The aim was simple – get Tim Tebow and Missy Franklin to call Matt Hardy and Bailey Wind, the two survivors of Saturday's Northway crash that left two others, Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers dead.
Matt's mother, Patricia Hardy, told NEWS10's Taryn Kane that Tebow did speak to her son.
"It was very uplifting for him after he'd been apart of a very tragic situation," says Hardy. "He'd been a fan of Tim Tebow's for the longest time, so it put a smile on his face."
And apparently, Matt made an impression on Tebow as well.
"Thanks to everyone who got #TebowCallMatt trending & helped connect us. Matt truly inspired me. God bless y'all," tweeted Tebow.
On Thursday, ESPN interviewed the New York Jet's quarterback about that call.
Tebow told ESPN, "it was humbling" and "better than any touchdown I'll ever score."
But before he could chat with Matt, he said he had to prove it wasn't a prank call to Hardy's friends.
"It took a few minutes to convince them," Tebow said. "(I said) I promise it's really me."
A family friend of the Hardy's tells Kane that Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees saw all the tweets and called Matt and left him a voice mail.
Missy Franklin also contacted Bailey.
"Called Bailey and left her a voicemail. Would still love to talk to her. Bailey and her community are in my thoughts and prayers #staystrong," she said via Twitter.
Shenendehowa students say Monday evening was a bright spot in what has been some dark days.
"This is incredible, I'm at a loss for words right now," says Troy Farkas. "Matt means so much to us, he's the lucky one out of this accident. He's lost everything right now, and we just want to brighten his day."
"It's amazing, the power of social media these days," adds Shannon McNall. "People say that it's bad for us, but the things we were able to do in a matter of an hour."
There will be a candlelight vigil Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. at the Shenendehowa High School Athletic Stadium to honor the lives of Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, and to offer support for Matt Hardy and Bailey Wind.
You can follow Caitlin Williams on Twitter or Instagram @Caitlin_Marie88.
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