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One boy's inspirational gesture
December 26th, 2014
05:14 PM ET

One boy's inspirational gesture

(CNN) – It was one of the feel good moments of 2014

12-year-old Ryan Gans, got a foul ball at Boston's famed Fenway Park, and handed it to a little girl he had never met.

"He gives her the baseball, I mean look at her face!" an announcer told the crowd.

The veteran Red Sox announcers were so astonished by the boy's generosity they sent a reporter to the stands for an interview, and to replace the ball.

Ryan now keeps one in a special case, to protect not just the baseball, but the memory, and the lesson.

"I just thought it was the right thing to do," he said.

The story behind the moment is even more inspiring. Early in the game Ryan told his mother if he got a ball, he'd give it to the little girl.

"She kind of looked at me weird because she didn't think I would get one," he said.

He sure proved her wrong!

Ryan got the pay-it-forward idea from his grandmother, Gail, who had told him a story of what she did when a man asked for money outside a grocery store.

"She said: 'Instead of giving you money, I'll bring you in and you can take a basket of food.' And I just thought, wow that's very nice. But she didn't get any attention from that," said the 12-year-old.

Ryan has gotten a lot of attention – Major League Baseball even honored him with its end of year GIBBY award, listed right after Derek Jeter's win for driving home a winning run in the final home game.

"It's pretty crazy to imagine," he said.

"It's been really fun for him to see how good it feels - you feel to do something nice for someone else. And how everyone likes to see that," says Ryan's mom, Kelly Gans.

"He's the oldest of our three kids, and he set a nice example for the other two, and for a bunch of other kids out there too ... Other kids may see what he did and do it too, just for fun," said his mother, Bob Gans.

Ryan's new year resolution is to connect with Reese, the girl he gave the ball to. Not realizing the heartwarming move was going to go viral, the families didn't exchange phone numbers, though Ryan did give her some of the swag the Red Sox sent to his seat.

"They gave me two bracelets. And I decided to give her one," he said.

Reporter's note: Full disclosure, I have known Ryan Gans since the day he was born. His proud parents – who clearly taught him well – are my dear friends.

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