This is the story of Albert Gator, and what Albert Gator will do to protect the littlest Florida Gators.
First, Albert saved a child from a foul ball at Florida’s baseball game against North Florida on Tuesday, something noted in real time by the Florida baseball Twitter account.
Then, University of Florida student and former cheerleader Andrew Bondi — who notes that Albert is his best friend in his Twitter bio, how weird — posted video of that little-watched baseball game against North Florida on Tuesday night, in which Albert saw a foul ball coming down in the stands, and stuck his snout and, er, hands out to protect a child.
This original tweet didn’t get all that much traction, because it sort of just happened and then passed without further mention. Bondi is criminally underfollowed, with just over 100 followers on Twitter despite doing the public service of telling the world which Publix sandwiches are on sale each week, and his version of the video is just a snippet pulled from Snapchat. I favorited his tweet and thought I’d get back to it when I could on Wednesday, before failing to do that.
Then Florida decided to make sure the Internet knew of Albert’s heroics.
That tweet — with a longer, not-filmed-off-a-TV video that also shows the kid giving Albert CPR, in a wonderful moment of care — has gone viral, with nearly 2,000 retweets on that original as of this post’s publication, and many, many more retweets for people like those who impersonate notorious Kentucky sports columnist Jerry Tipton, stole the video, and posted it as their own.
(To put that reach in perspective: Florida’s reported attendance for that 2-1 win over the Ospreys was 2,777 — a figure that sure seems high to me, a person who has attended midweek games at McKethan Stadium against teams that are not Florida State.)
The video is cute, sweet, and heartening — everything you would want in a viral video — and I’m quite happy that it’s getting national attention. It made my heart swell, and we need more things that make our hearts swell.
...but yeah, I’m kinda mad I didn’t just post about it on Tuesday night. I saw a dear friend of Albert best friend tweet about it in the moment!
Anyway, for my money, the actual best thing to come of this is how Albert reacted on Wednesday, when he attended Florida’s softball game against UCF.
That’s funny, right there.