In the wake of the tragedy that took the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others, endless stories of Bryant's humility and heroic ways have trickled out. Another such tale has come out, this one involving a shooting victim from his hometown of Philadelphia.
It was 12 years ago when Bryant decided to reach out the trauma outreach coordinator for Temple University Hospital. That's when he shared with Scott Charles that he wanted to help out a family that was recently affected by gun violence. Bryant didn't request any one patient, but instead asked Charles to set him up with someone in the hospital that he could visit.
Bryant was given the information of Chinika Perez, a single mother who had her world flipped upside down following a shooting. She took a bullet through her femoral artery in August of 2006. The devastation wound up with her needing to have her left leg amputated at the hip and her right leg below the knee. She was left with very little movement in her arms, too.
12 years ago, a rep for Kobe Bryant reached out because the star wanted to do something for a Philly family that had been impacted by gun violence. He worked with a local car dealer to gift a wheelchair accessible van to a young mother who had lost her legs in a shooting. 1/ pic.twitter.com/Ta2yjXO04d— Scott Charles (@TheScottCharles) January 26, 2020
Charles shared with Bryant that she needed and wanted a wheelchair-accessible van to get around and give her the ability to do things on her own.
In town for a Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers game, Bryant first visited Perez at the hospital where he presented her with a van that he, along with Charles, helped get together through a local car company.
“There was no grand check presentation, no oversized ceremonial key. He simply knelt beside her and began speaking. And listening. He would spend the better part of an hour hanging out with Chinika and her family," Charles recalled in a Twitter post he shared shortly after Bryant's death.
Bryant also gave Perez, her family and the families of the dealership, Conicelli, who helped arrange the van, tickets to that night's game. He then visited the suite after the game.
“That meeting, which few people knew about, changed her life in ways that Kobe could not have fully appreciated. To this day, the family still has the van," Charles recapped.0comments
Dom Conicelli shared with Yahoo! Sports that he was "grateful" to be able to help out the family.
“He was so grateful to be able to help and appreciative for our part in putting it together,” Conicelli said. “He was very humble about it. He was already a huge celebrity by that time, but talking to him it didn’t feel that way.”