Lexia Woods of Summerville broke hearts across the Internet last week after a Facebook video of her reacting tearfully to the trade of her favorite NFL player went viral.
“Wherever Jimmy Graham goes is where I go, no matter what team,” the 7-year-old Saints fan told her mom, Ashley-Ann Woods, moments after finding out about the trade. “He's going to the Seahawks. It's just not smart of them to let Jimmy Graham over there.”
The video, originally intended for her father stationed in Kuwait, had nearly 300,000 views on Facebook and more than 100,000 views on YouTube. Several media outlets picked it up, including ESPN and USA Today.
But don't cry for Lexia, she's doing much better now, her mom says, after receiving a flood of supportive messages from both Saints and Seahawks fans — and Graham himself, who sent them a message inviting Lexia to Seattle for the Seahawks' opening game.
“She felt a lot better when Jimmy reached out to her,” Ashley-Ann Woods said. “He said watching the video made him smile. She said, 'Mom, I made Jimmy smile.' To her that was the most important thing.”
Lexia was born into Who Dat nation seven years ago while her father, who is in the Coast Guard, was stationed in New Orleans.
“It's kind of the culture down there. You can't help but love them,” Woods said of the Saints. “We just fell in love with the team and everything they did after (Hurricane) Katrina.”
Graham, who's been especially supportive of the nation's military, quickly became Lexia and her mom's favorite player.
Woods said she always keeps the camera on her phone at the ready because she likes to share videos of everyday life with her husband, who has been stationed in Kuwait since June.
Lexia, she said, has a flair for the dramatic, and she knew when picking her daughter up from school that she would have something to say about the Graham trade.
“I figured it would be pretty good,” she said.
Woods said she didn't consider publicly posting the video until a cousin convinced her.
The reaction from fans of both teams was both heart-warming and unexpected.
Saints fans wrote and told her they felt her pain. One fan told them she also cried at the news, “but it wasn't nearly as cute.”
Woods was especially shocked by the outpouring of support from the Seattle fans.
Some wrote that they will take care of Graham and he will be OK. One woman said she wanted to be the first one to buy Lexia a Seahawks jersey.
“Overall, getting responses from both teams is a really good example for her because we always teach sportsmanship,” Woods said. “It's a great example how people can reach beyond the team lines and how there are a lot of good people out there.”
And Lexia will always remember the message from Graham.
“It was really nice that he sent me a message,” Lexia said. “That made me feel better. I've never been texted by a football player.”