In a world desperately in need of dreams, one came true at the household of popular William Chrisman High School activities director Greg McGhee.
He and his wife Christine put an application in to be a host family for a Chrisman foreign exchange student, and for the young man from Germany who spent much of the 2019-20 school year with the McGhee family, it was a trip beyond his wildest dreams.
"It really was pretty cool," said McGhee who welcomed Simon Walch, the self-proclaimed biggest Patrick Mahomes fan in the world into his family’s home for the school year.
Simon’s uncle would come to the United States every year and do a three-week tour of NFL arenas, and through this Simon became a big Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes fan.
"So when Simon was informed that he was going to a host family in the United States, he immediately asked where they lived and if they were close to an NFL team," McGhee said. "He was informed that his family lived in Independence, Missouri."
And that stopped the interview process, as Walch ran to a computer, Googled Independence, and started to celebrate when he discovered that it was just 20 minutes from Arrowhead Stadium.
"It’s really amazing how it all worked out," said McGhee, who is now sharing the in-home teaching of his fifth grade daughter Maddy and kindergartner Emily with his wife.
"It was so much fun when we met Simon, when he first came over. He landed, and the AFS people took him to a hotel near the airport to give him a briefing and to tell him about ‘his American family.’
"When we got there, we were all so excited. The first thing he said to us was, ‘On the way home can we drive by Arrowhead Stadium?’ Which we did, because it was right on the way."
Soon, Maddy and Emily had a "big brother," Mahomes had another fan and this fairy tale began.
"First, we went to a preseason game, and he went out of his mind he was so happy," McGhee said, laughing. "I think we wound up going to five or six games and he told us that all the Chiefs games were shown on TV in Germany, but they were on in the middle of the night.
"He promised us he never missed a day of school, but he would stay up all night on Sundays to watch the games, and then go to school the next morning.
"I don’t know how many times he told us that he couldn’t believe he was living 20 minutes from the stadium, and he just got more and more excited the more games we went to."
The only sad part of this tale is that Walch had to return to Germany early because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed schools across the country.
"He’s been gone a few weeks, but he kept telling us about all the wonderful memories," McGhee said. "He really did become a part of our family and I know all of us miss him as much as he said he misses us."