Caught on camera: Referee turns tutor - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Caught on camera: Referee turns tutor

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A photo of referee Micheal Walton helping Lily Taylor with her math homework went viral. (Facebook/KTEN) A photo of referee Micheal Walton helping Lily Taylor with her math homework went viral. (Facebook/KTEN)

MARIETTA, Okla. --- A young lady struggling with math homework got a surprise tutor last week. Referee Micheal Walton, also known as "Smiley," is well-known Texoma referee with a reputation for being kind.

"People call me 'Smiley' because I smile a lot and have a good time," Walton said.

For nearly 30 years, Walton has officiated hundreds of games; but one game -- and what he did for a girl between baskets -- has people talking.

"I was doing my homework and he came up to me and asked me if I understood that, and I said, 'Not really,'" Lily Taylor told KTEN.  

Lily is a 6th grader at Central High Middle School and was struggling with math homework in the stands at a basketball game in Healdton, Oklahoma. Then, to her surprise, Walton came over during halftime to help.

"He told me to switch the fraction to a decimal," Lily said. "So I did that, and that made it a lot easier for me."

Coincidentally, Lily's mom, Lori Edwards, had reached out for math tutors days before. 

"So here two days later, the ref comes at a basketball game and asks her if she needs help with her homework," Edwards said. "I just felt God put us all in the right place at the right time"

Edwards couldn't help but snap a photo of the moment and posted it to Facebook. From parents to former and present athletes, people who knew Walton chimed in, praising Walton and saying they were not surprised.

"It ended up being he's like a southwest Oklahoma celebrity," Edwards joked. 

"You do things to make people feel better, not to get publicity," said Walton, "I was there for a reason at that moment." 

It's the story of a basketball referee, an unlikely math tutor, who proved that a random act of kindness scores more than points. 

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