WEST LAWN —When West Lawn Little League coach Bobby Delgadillo’s car was stolen on Tuesday, his first thought wasn't about the loss of his vehicle, but about all of his team's equipment that was inside it.
Delgadillo, known to everyone in the neighborhood as "Coach Bobby," had been carting the team’s expensive new training equipment along with his wallet and other personal belongings.
As soon as they heard the news, the tight-knit team organized a GoFundMe page seeking donations, expecting to have to buy all new gear. The timing couldn't be worse: The league is midseason, and playoffs are just around the corner.
Then on Thursday, there was a small stroke of luck for West Lawn Little League.
“We were driving around trying to find a car, and we went into an alley off of 52nd and found an abandoned lot with the car,” Delgadillo said.
The car had a broken windshield, rear window and lights, and the alignment was off.
Though much of the players' equipment had been stolen, some of it was still in the car.
Even more heartening: After hearing the news, the Harrison Park Little League team in Pilsen offered to donate its used equipment to the team.
“I got messages and people from everywhere saying they have something to donate. I didn't turn anyone away because they so graciously wanted to donate,” Delgadillo said.
Less than a week after Delgadillo's car was stolen, the West Lawn Little League's equipment has been almost completely restocked. He said he wants to reinvest any excess donations back into West Lawn.
“I just want to give back to the community, and any money that I don’t end up using will go back into the community. I was raised this way from my parents and my grandparents,” Delgadillo said.
But the parents of his West Lawn Little League players say they have a different plan: They want to use all donations collected to help repair Delgadillo's car.
“The coach goes out of his way for all of the players. If I can’t get my son to a game he will come back and pick him up. He has dinner with the families of kids on the team. He helps out those going through a rough time. Since he gives so freely, he deserves to at least have his car fixed,” said Andrea Lebron, whose son plays on Delgadillo's team.