Fans put rivalry aside for SF fan at Seahawks parade

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on February 8, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 8 at 3:00 PM

Show up to a Seahawks Super Bowl victory parade decked out in 49ers gear, and you're bound to get some boos.  It's exactly what happened to a gutsy San Francisco fan on Wednesday, but his story doesn't end there.

The 12th man instantly started snapping pictures when the teenager, dressed head to toe in red and gold, began walking through the crowd of parade-goers.  One Seahawks fan even posted a video on YouTube, of the 12s booing the 49ers fan as he walked by.

The images very quickly went viral, and were shared over and over on Facebook and Twitter.

From her home outside of San Francisco, Catherine Tate loved what she saw.  She is a die-hard 49ers fan who KING 5 first met while in San Francisco in the days leading up to the NFC Championship.

Tate contacted KING 5 after the parade, in hopes of tracking down the mystery fan she felt was so brave, to wear his team colors in the midst of a sea of blue and green.  She wanted to give him tickets to a game.

"I was going to give him one of my seats, I have front row seats in the new stadium on the 50 yard line," she said.

When Tate found and identified the teen through social media, she realized he needed much more than tickets. 

"He's 15, he is a ward of the state, and is homeless essentially.  He lives in shelters," she said.  "So this evolved from, let's reward this kid for his bravery on one day, to let's reward him for his bravery every day."

When Tate had a conversation with the young man, she felt even more compelled to help.  She posted details of their conversation on a website she runs for female 49er fans, and says he was blown away by her offers to help find him shelter, counseling, support, stability, and whatever else he needed.

Now the gofundme account she initially created to raise money for his trip to San Francisco is bringing in big donations, from fans of both the Seahawks and the 49ers, who want to help in a much bigger way.

"This is another one of those things of, yes, he belongs to us, but he also belongs to you.  This is a Seattle, or Kirkland, native child that is your brother," she said.  "People from Seattle have donated, saying I bleed blue and green, but this kid needs help and he needs these resources, so I want to partake."

On Friday, more than $2,000 had already been donated.

Tate recognizes she will have to jump through some legal hoops to make this happen.  She's been in touch with the boy's social worker and says that when he turns 18, the offer will still stand to give him tickets to a 49ers game.

Until then, she will keep pushing to help him in other ways.  She's even talked to several families interested in serving as foster families for the 15-year-old.

The money pledged on the gofundme site will not be touched until Tate ensures it will go to him and him alone, and be used to pay for college or another worthwhile cause.  She says she's thrilled it's bringing Seahawks and 49ers fans together.

"We're humans, we're all people," she said.  "And this is bigger than football."

Because he is a minor, KING 5 chose not to use the teen's name.  He goes to school in Tukwila, and teachers there have said he is a good kid who has had a tough life, but comes to school every day ready to work and to learn.

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