July 6 was supposed to be one of the best days in the young life of Hudson Sherwood. However, it turned in to arguably one of the worst for the nine-year-old, after his idol, soccer star Lionel Messi, failed to show up for a scheduled meet-and-greet with fans.
Hudson's father, Tony Sherwood, bought two tickets at $2,500 apiece back in January, so that he and his son could go to Soldier Field in Chicago and meet Messi as part of the Messi and Friends Tour charity match. They were guaranteed a meet-and-greet with Messi along with autographed jerseys and balls.
Unfortunately, the father and son duo never got to meet Messi.
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Sherwood admitted he wouldn’t normally pay that much for his son to meet a famous person, but the money was going to UNICEF on behalf of Messi’s foundation.
But the months of anticipation and build up turned into a major let down.
Sherwood said about 75 customers who paid $2,500 each were put in a small room underneath the field. They waited there about two hours before being told the world’s best soccer player was not coming.
“It was chaos from the beginning,” Sherwood said. “They weren’t prepared. They told us he was coming, told us he was coming, and then five minutes before the match, one of his Spanish-speaking representatives came in and said due to team commitments, he can’t come.”
Fans were led on to believe that Messi would eventually come at halftime or at the conclusion of the game. But that didn't happen, either.
“There were tears, disappointment and heartache,” Sherwood said.
Hudson, who owns six Messi jerseys, was so disappointed on the way home that he told his father, “Dad, next time I get a jersey, I don’t want it to be Messi.”
This was the second time in five days Messi was a no-show. He was supposed to play in a charity match in Los Angeles on July 3, but it was cancelled the day before.
Phone calls made from USA TODAY to Messi's agency, Numero 5, were not immediately returned. Furthermore, Messi has yet to publicly apologize or release a statement about the situation.
The only silver lining in the whole ordeal is that Sherwood is going to end up with a full refund thanks to Visa. He called the credit card company and described to them what happened and was told he had enough evidence to dispute the charge. But the money won't heal his son's broken heart.
“Money didn’t go to charity and my son’s heart was broken,” he said.
Via For the Win