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John O’Leary learns firsthand why Jack Buck kept showing up for him throughout his childhood.

  • Dozens of visits to my burn center hospital room
  • Creating John O’Leary day at the ballpark
  • Sending me a signed baseball teaching me how to write
  • Sending 59 additional balls after the first one
  • Gifting me his priceless Hall of Fame crystal baseball
  • Being a friend when I desperately needed one

This list captures just a fraction of the kindness Jack Buck showed me throughout his life. As a child, I never understood why he was so generous. Even after his death, I couldn’t comprehend why he did so much, so selflessly for some random little boy.

A few years ago I asked his son, Joe, to meet for coffee. I wanted to thank him for all the Buck family did for me. They profoundly changed my life and their compassion uplifted my entire family. Before departing, I asked why his dad had been so radically generous. Without hesitating, Joe responded:

“John, it was the look of joy in your eyes every time he was with you that kept bringing him back.”

I’ve thought frequently about Joe’s answer since our visit. Last weekend at a little boy’s house 250 miles away from my home, though, I finally came to truly appreciate what he meant.

John O’Leary meets a special young friend Deyvion who shows him the importance of showing up for others.

I first met Deyvion through an email sent to our office last March. The email shared the details of how he was burned terribly as a four-month-old baby, the profound struggles he faced after and the scars that still cover him. It also described an eight-year-old boy with incredible courage, unmatched sweetness and contagious joy.

Because of the publicity of the work we do, we are fortunate to receive emails sharing inspiring stories like Deyvion’s quite often. We try our best to respond with a note of encouragement, a little care package to the family and the promise that we’re here to support them on the journey forward.

What began as a simple email a year ago has continued to expand. Deyvion feels a connection to me because of the scars that unite us, hands that looks similar and his desire to one day be an author. So I sent him a copy of my book, encouraged him to begin writing his, and to let me know how we can help. The video his mother shared as he opened the package with incomparable delight moved me to tears.

In another of our conversations he talked excitedly about the Kansas City Chiefs football team. After learning he was a huge Patrick Mahomes fan, we sent him a game-ready jersey. Again, the video of him opening the jersey, shrieking with delight and putting it on moved me to tears.

Recently, we heard of some difficult surgeries he’ll soon require to continue his recovery. We wanted to do more to encourage him and provide something positive to look forward to as he heals.

Deyvion has always dreamed of going to a big indoor waterpark, going down slides and just playing like all the other kids.

So last Saturday we loaded up the minivan, made our way to Deyvion’s home, knocked on the door and surprised him with donuts. As the initial shock from this little boy slowly faded, we talked and then I handed him a certificate for a couple nights at a massive indoor waterpark to look forward to after he heals.

As we wrapped up our visit, hugged goodbye and promised to stay in touch, I saw not only a smile on his face, but brilliant, contagious, beautiful joy in his eyes. Again, tears filled my eyes as I thought back to Joe Buck’s answer to why his dad kept visiting:

“It was the look of joy in your eyes that kept bringing him back.”

Life isn’t easy, this will make it better.

My friends, life is hard. And in a world where many look for evidence of things that divide, diminish, cause pain or excuse poor behavior, let’s seek to be the ones who unify, elevate, reflect hope and take positive action.

No, it won’t eradicate disease, end poverty or alter the many struggles that remain ahead. Yet the very act of showing up, sharing love, being kindness and offering encouragement will in fact change the world one life at a time.

Just don’t be surprised when the very first life that changes is your own. 

This is your day. Live Inspired.
John O’Leary

12 replies on “The Look in Your Eyes”

I am trying to find the link to the video about Deyvion. I texted what was requested from the podcast but the link sent did not send me to the video please help

John, you are a true inspiration and just so full of love and life. I so enjoy hearing from you and listening to you and your inspirational, life changing stories. I wish I could be half the person you are. I apparently have failed my children miserably, as I cannot seem to inspire them at all. My middle son, now 21 , has terrible depression, and I have tried for several years to get him help. As a single Mom of three children ( ages 26, 21, and 16- Dad left for another woman at ages 12, 7 and 2), who lost our house ( brand new) and then I had cancer, and just struggled for years until going back to school for my masters, obtaining it in 2017, and finally being able to afford things, just surviving in an apartment. Anyways. My point here, was my middle son struggles with depression and/ or a personality disorder with everything that has happened. I had to at times work 3 jobs and wasn’t there for my kids all the time unfortunately. What you and Devyion have gone through is incomparable to what we have gone through. And it makes me so ill to think my son who has “ everything” is still struggling. I wish somehow I could be a better inspiration as you!!!

Awesome story, John! Only you can appreciate fully how impactful your friendship with Deyvion is and will continue to be. (It certainly has been for us!) Blessings to both of you and your families!

Tears brimmed my eyelids as I read this story; a story of love, compassion, feelings, and bravery. It only takes one act of kindness to change a persons life. Thank you John for using your life to live an inspired life!


You have been an inspiration in my life for 12 years and you keep adding new reasons all the time! Blessings Brother.

I am so touched by this story. Thank you, John, for all that you do. Your positive attitude and relentless courage are inspiring.

John, thanks for sharing with us this beautiful set of lessons from Jack, Joe, yourself and Deyvion! You keep making a difference every time I hear from you. Love you brother!

Dear John,
What Jack Buck passed onto you was unconditional love ❤️ Hope❤️Inspiration❤️Encouragement❤️Determination❤️The Gift 🎁 of giving.
Thank you! For all the words of encouragement and love through your shared experiences of your Life that you have past on to me.
May You, Your Family and all Your Team be well and safe during these unprecedented times.
Brigitte 🌷🍀

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