When Tayler Soto and his family lost their house in a fire, the only thing that remained was a Derwin James jersey. After the team and its fans found out, they went all-in to help the Sotos get back on their feet
- Well, a couple of days ago, we shared with you a story of how Chargers superfan Taylor Soto and his family recently lost their Arizona home in a fire. When the tragedy became public, the organization acted quickly, but so did the Bolt Fam. Chris Hayre now has more on how this tight-knit community rallied around one of its own.
TAYLOR SOTO: All of our stuff is smoke damaged. This is what's left of our house.
CHRIS HAYRE: It was last month on Mother's Day that the unthinkable happened to Taylor Soto and his family.
TAYLOR SOTO: So, it was about 10:00. We had put our daughter to sleep. We were watching a movie in the living room. Me and my wife heard a popping noise. There's a tree that goes over our house, and that thing was completely lit up. And my daughter was sleeping on the bed, so it was kind of hanging right over the house. We all sprinted out of the house.
It destroyed everything. I mean, we had nothing left except the jersey that I had moved, thankfully, to the living room that night.
CHRIS HAYRE: And that jersey you're referring to is a Derwin James jersey?
TAYLOR SOTO: Yeah. Yeah, it's a Derwin James one. I actually have it. We washed it finally, so I put it away. That's a special one for me.
JOHN SPANOS: When you see someone go through hard times and you're in a position to help, it's only natural to want to do so. And here at the Chargers, obviously, this is something that really started with my grandfather and the importance of family. Everyone in this organization-- from from staff to players to fans-- are all part of the Chargers family, and so, certainly, it was the least we can do to think of something to brighten his day. A distraction, a fun day, something to help.
ANTONIO GATES: How you doing?
TAYLOR SOTO: Is that Antonio Gates? Oh, my goodness, dude. What's up, goat? How you doing, man?
ANTONIO GATES: You all right?
TAYLOR SOTO: I'm good, man.
ANTONIO GATES: Yes, sir.
CHRIS HAYRE: The Chargers arranged a special day for the Sotos at SoFi Stadium, with surprise appearances from James and future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates.
But it wasn't just the organization who had Taylor's back.
JENNIFER MILLS: Our Bold Fam community is really a tight-knit community of fans that just really care about each other.
CHRIS HAYRE: Jennifer Mills is one of the team's biggest supporters.
JENNIFER MILLS: People messaged me and they're asking, "Do you know how we could help Taylor?" And I'm like, OK. So I just thought about it, and then somebody messaged, "Has someone set up a GoFund?" And I asked him and, no, so I just took it upon myself then that I would just set it up and see what would happen from there.
CHRIS HAYRE: And what happened was over $11,000 to date.
JENNIFER MILLS: It warms my heart. It makes me feel so good to be able to say I was a part of it. I'm not going to take the full credit. I started it, but all the Bolt Fam members, they tweeted and commented and retweeted and reached out.
JOHN SPANOS: I was telling someone, I think this is my favorite part of the whole story. By the time that it was brought to my attention, what happened to Taylor and the story, there had already been such an effort and a movement by the Charger fans to help Taylor out.
We talk a lot about the Charger family, Bold Fam. I mean, that's a real thing, and this is the perfect example.
CHRIS HAYRE: Taylor called you a guardian angel. How does that make you feel, Jen?
JENNIFER MILLS: Oh, my gosh. It makes me want to tear up. But the Bolt Fam members, a few people have called me that. I don't know if it's-- I can't say that. I just want to help people. So if I see someone in need, of course I'm going to try to jump in and help as much as I can.
TAYLOR SOTO: That woman is a godsend, man. She really helped us out and I'll forever be thankful for her. It's crazy. I can never describe how thankful I am for Jen.
- We wish Taylor and his family the best as they get back on their feet.