Jimmie Johnson Stars at Daytona with Pediatric Hospital Visit

Jimmie Johnson definitely enjoyed an ice cream social at Speediatrics Unit in Daytona.
Credit: Rosalie Thompson for Skirts and Scuffs
Watching Jimmie Johnson Friday as he visited the Speediatric Unit of Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, one got the sense that Johnson was “off the clock.” 

Forget Johnson the 5-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, forget Johnson a previous “Athlete of the Year,” forget that Johnson was representing two sponsors.  Friday Johnson was just a guy eating Blue Bunny ice cream with some kids, helping them build some Lowe’s race cars, and having a blast doing it.
Patients in the Betty Jane France Speediatrics Unit of Halifax Medical Center and their parents, along with a handful of invited media including Skirts and Scuffs, crowded into a small play room at the NASCAR-themed unit.  The patients just knew that someone was coming to help them build some cars and eat some ice cream.  The parents were grateful that the NASCAR star cared enough to visit.
Johnson helped the kids to some ice cream.
Credit: Harold Hinson photography
Perhaps the cutest event of the day was watching a toddler—probably around two—try to convince Johnson to get her some ice cream a little early.  She talked, he listened, she talked, he asked her to repeat, she pointed to the ice cream freezer logo and smiled.  You could see Johnson, the Dad, just melt as the cutie was not about to give up.
Cecil Yancy, who had come to Daytona with his dad Bobby specifically to watch Johnson run, ended up in the hospital unit instead of the grandstands.  Cecil only knew that a NASCAR driver was coming but his Dad did not tell him it was their favorite.  It turned out Cecil might just have the best driver experience to tell his friends when he gets home from Dayton. 
As Johnson entered, Cecil’s eyes lit up and Johnson turned to shake hands with his young admirer, perhaps the only patient old enough to know who Johnson is. The fact that Bobby Yancy was wearing a 48 ticket holder around his neck did not go unnoticed by Cecil’s favorite drive. “Is that our new lanyard?” Johnson asked.  Both Cecil and his Dad said yes.  Without prodding, Johnson asked Dad if he would like to get a photo of his son and their favorite driver.  They did.
So, whether providing a young patient with a once-in-a-lifetime one-on-one encounter with his favorite driver or explaining to a young carpenter how to tilt the car on the corner of the table to get more stability when hammering a nail, Johnson was the star of a Friday afternoon ice cream social in Daytona Beach.
It also turns out that the person who had the most fun at the party might just might have been Johnson!
Jimmie Johnson Stars at Daytona with Pediatric Hospital Visit Jimmie Johnson Stars at Daytona with Pediatric Hospital Visit Reviewed by Rosalie Thompson on Friday, July 01, 2011 Rating: 5