In November 2016, my dad was on a mission to find a hunting magazine. He has always been a bigger hunter in our small town of Elizabethtown, NC. He went to a nearby Walgreens to find the certain magazine.
He was soon distracted, however, when his gaze fell upon a special commemorative “Newsweek” magazine remebering Arnold Palmer who had just passed away in September.
My dad quickly forgot about his search for the hunting magazine and decided he would get this as a gift for me for me. I have always admired and loved Arnold Palmer, just like so many others.
As my dad walked out of the store, he was approached by a woman who had noticed his magazine purchase.
She exclaimed "Sir, I don’t mean to be nosey but I couldn’t help notice that you purchased that Arnold Palmer magazine,” My dad replied, “Yes, my son has always been a very big fan of his and I know he would love to have this magazine".
As it turned out, the woman — Mrs. Knight — had never before been to Elizabethtown but was in the area working for FEMA after Hurricane Matthew. There was, however, another twist to come.
She began to tell my dad that, 15 years ago, she use to work at a small golf warehouse in Tennessee and they sold Arnold Palmer brand name clothing there. She also stated that Mr. Palmer would come by the golf shop once or twice a year.
She told my dad how everything positive that was ever said about Arnold Palmer was completely true. She expressed how he was always so kind and warm hearted towards her and the staff.
Her story continued, telling my dad how Palmer would practice golf with the staff and sign anything they asked him to.
"He would always make us feel so special" said Mrs. Knight.
After the short chat, my dad turned to get in his truck — armed with a special magazine and story to share. But Mrs. Knight wasn’t finished. She quickly had my dad to hold on for a moment and she went over to her vehicle.
When she returned, she was carrying an older-version Bay Hill Club golf hat — signed by Arnold Palmer on the bill of the hat!
As my dad began to laugh and shake his head in disbelief, this wonderful lady explained to him that Arnold Palmer had signed the hat 15 years ago during one of his visits to their golf shop in Tennessee. She said she was bringing the hat to her son as a present but, for some reason, felt that meeting my dad was not just a coincidence — and she wanted him to take the hat and give it to me as a gift.
My father was stunned by the offer!
He explained to her that he couldn’t accept such a wonderful and precious gift. Her next sentence has continued to bring tears to my eyes over the past few years. She told my dad that ‘I just feel that this is something that Arnold Palmer would want me to do, and I know your son will always treasure this gift from his dad.’”
With those words, my dad accepted the gift and passed the hat — and magazine — along to me so I can cherish it forever.
In essence, Arnold Palmer’s legacy of being not just a tremendous golfer, but a loving and kind-hearted person is continuing to live on each and every day. I don’t know if I will ever have the chance to meet this lady, but I will be forever grateful that she was so kind as to give (my father) this wonderful story and very special gift.
When the golf channel speical, Arnie, came over years ago, I watched in awe of his ‘Army’ and the amount of lives he touched by being a generous, hardworking and caring human being.
In this world we live in today, we can all use someone to admire and look up to, I want to take the time to thank Arnold Palmer for being that role model to so many people, including myself. He was a true icon and no one will ever have the same swagger or leave an everlasting impression like ‘The King’ did for the game of golf.