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Man Meets An 80-Year-Old Man On A Plane That Knew His Whole Story—'I Had An Encounter With An Angel'

Photo: TikTok
Aidan Igiehon explains a story that happened on a trip to Dublin

Imagine if a stranger knew everything about you right on meeting them. Most times, an encounter like that would be a pretty creepy experience.

But for one plane passenger, that was not the case. Instead, it was an endearing moment shared between two people over their love of basketball.

Aiden Igiehon had an encounter with an 80-year-old man on a plane that knew his whole story.

Aiden Igiehon is a 22-year-old basketball player from Dublin, Ireland, who played division one basketball at Abilene Christian University, among other colleges.

The 6’10” player, whose basketball nickname is “Irish Hulk,” shared an emotional flight experience on the video-sharing app TikTok. He was boarding a plane to return to Dublin when he realized he had booked the wrong seat. 

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He was sitting in a middle seat in coach, which is already uncomfortable for many of us — imagine how uncomfortable it must be for someone of his height! Not only that, but the flight was 11 hours long. Luckily, a kind flight attendant moved him to an open aisle seat, and, even better, when the plane finished boarding, there was a seat open in first class so she moved him there —free of charge. 

Not only was Aiden grateful to be in a more accommodating seat, but it also allowed him to meet someone who brightened up his day.

“Because I was in first class, I was in a whole different area of the plane, and I had an opportunity to meet a very special man — about 80 years old,” he said. “He was on the way to use the bathroom, and…on his way back, he kind of stopped me.”

Then, the man asked Aiden if he was a basketball player. This alone is not a shocking question, given Aiden’s uncommon height. He asked where Aiden played, and he explained that he’s been at a number of schools, including Grand Canyon University.

“He was like, ‘You know what’s crazy, there is a kid from Ireland that plays on Grand Canyon?’” Aiden explained. He pretended to act shocked, believing that the man didn’t realize he was, in fact, the Irish basketball player.

The man even knew the area he was from, Clondalkin. Aiden was a bit surprised, but what the man asked next took even the adept athlete completely off guard!

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The man explained that the Irish player in question 'lived with his mom' before leaving home at just 13 years old.

“He was like, ‘Would that happen to be you?’” he said. At this point, he confirmed it was him. Aiden was a “little bit freaked out” because this older man didn’t have any social media. So, he was confused about how he knew so much about him.

“I’m just minding my business, and this guy knows my whole story,” he said.

In addition to that, he even knew his former head coach. He left and returned with a pamphlet for the book "Meet My Head Coach." Aiden said the man claimed to be Fred J. Crowell or “Coach Crowell,” who was also the author. The book is about how his experience with basketball helped him grow in his Christian faith. Aiden explained that he’s also a Christian who’s growing into the religion. 

The touching moment caused Aiden to start crying as he read the pamphlet. It really connected to him because it uses basketball terms like “quarters” and “timeouts” to explain Biblical ideas. As Coach Corwell left, he accidentally knocked over Aiden’s water cup on his laptop, yet there was no water on the device when he went to clean it. And during the interaction, everybody around him was sleeping, taking no notice.

“I just personally think I had an encounter with an angel,” he said.

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Shockingly, people pointed out that the mysterious man had died almost two years ago.

Aiden didn’t express that he realized this fact in the video, but people in his comments section did. Coach Corwell passed away in August 2021 after a battle with bone cancer. Corwell founded the sports camp geared at youth, NBC Camps, which stands for “Nothing Beats Commitment,” in addition to his commercially successful book, "Meet My Head Coach."

In a previous post, he shared a photo of the man with his former head coach from Grand Canyon University, Bryce Drew. It's difficult to say if the man really is the late Fred Crowell, but they do bare some resemblance. So, whether or not you believe in angels or Aiden's story, it undoubtedly touched him and many others. 



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Ethan Cotler is a writer living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news and human interest stories.