BERLIN — Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick made an unscheduled pit stop in Berlin late last week after getting a flat tire on Route 113 on his way to Virginia and provided a brief thrill for dozens of local young athletes while he waited for a repair.
Vick was with his wife and two girls late last Friday afternoon when he got a flat tire on his Lexus SUV on Route 113 in Berlin. Fortunately for the Vicks, the flat tire occurred across the street from John’s Auto Body and the NFL star walked over to the Berlin body shop to seek assistance.
At first, the body shop employees did not know who Vick was, but owner John Derrickson, an Eagles fan, came over and quickly identified him. While employees worked to get the Lexus back on the road, Carmella Solito, owner and operator of Twisters Gymnastics nearby, came over to see what was going on and why the vehicle was blocking her driveway. When Solito learned it was Vick, she invited the family into her gym to visit around 100 young athletes while they waited for the repair.
“He didn’t say who he was at first when the guys came over to look at his tire, but John [Derrickson] knew immediately he was Michael Vick,” she said. “He was very nice and very humble.”
Solito said Vick and his family spent time with the young gymnasts at Twisters although many of the younger athletes didn’t fully grasp the situation.
“The parents and a lot of the teenagers knew right away who he was, but a lot of the little athletes didn’t know him,” she said. “He was a really good sport about the whole thing.”
Solito said Vick signed autographs and posed for pictures with the young athletes while waiting to get back on the road.
“He was with his wife and his girls and they hung out for about 45 minutes,” she said. “A lot of the little kids were hanging all over him, but he took the whole thing in stride.”
Vick left the Twisters family with more than just autographs, pictures and memories.
“It was all a lot of fun, but he had a great message for the kids,” she said. “He told them to keep going after their goals and that hard work does pay off.”
Last Friday’s brief encounter with Vick was not the first for the local area. In June 2010, not long after Vick was reinstated by the NFL after the dog-fighting scandal, the NFL star visited the Snow Hill High School football team and its student body and extolled the virtues of making good decisions and doing the right thing.