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Original Issue

SAFETY DANCE

NFL DEFENSIVE BACK DON JONES HAD A MEMORABLE PROM DATE

ON A Friday night in April, Lindsey Preston put on a long, black beaded gown and curled her hair into waves. The 18-year-old high school junior, who has Down syndrome, had attended prom twice before, but this night was different: Her date was an NFL player.

San Francisco safety Don Jones, 28, drove two hours to Moulton, Ala., from his offseason home in Birmingham to accompany Lindsey to the dance, an event for roughly 40 Lawrence County students with special needs. Jones, who grew up in nearby Town Creek, met Lindsey through his mom, a special-needs aide at her elementary school.

The two families are close, and last year Lindsey's mother, Kristi Martin, asked Jones if he'd take her daughter to prom. A football conflict precluded his attendance, but this year he was determined not to miss it. "Lindsey is very funny, she's a very loyal person, and I could tell she is loved by all the other kids," Jones says.

On the big night, Jones—sporting a black tux and bow tie—gave Lindsey a corsage of red roses. They spent the evening on the dance floor. "I was just pulling out every dance I could think of," the sixth-year safety says. "The night was off the chain."

Lindsey seemed to agree. "I was hot and sweaty from dancing," she says. When she saw herself on TV—Jones's kind act went viral—she cried with joy.

"Lindsey is just an awesome kid," Martin says. "For him to take time from his busy schedule to come and do this for her—it made her feel really, really special."

"FOR HIM TO TAKE TIME FROM HIS BUSY SCHEDULE TO COME AND DO THIS FOR HER—IT MADE HER FEEL REALLY, REALLY SPECIAL," SAYS LINDSEY'S MOTHER.