It was a horrifying story when it happened back in October 2010 after an eight-year-old boy was stabbed in the back five times with a hunting knife by a total stranger while playing a video game at a Long Island Dave & Buster's restaurant.
Almost a year later, minutes after Judge Jerald Carter sentenced the 24-year old assailant to 14 years in prison, the jurist asked the boy's mother, Lisa DalFonso, who her son's favorite sports star is.
"Derek Jeter," answered the youngster's mom.
"You tell your son... he will be as big as Derek Jeter" by the time the defendant is released from prison.
That might have been little consolation to DalFonso who said her son was constantly looking over his shoulder and refused to visit public places.
The only thing that the concerned mother did not know is that Judge Carter played college baseball with the Yankee shortstop's father, Charles Jeter, at Fisk University in Tennessee and the two men still kept in contact with each other.
A few weeks later, a package arrived at the boy's home, according to Newsday. The newspaper is not naming the boy—now 9-years old— at his mother's request and because he was the victim of a crime. In the package, there was a signed baseball, an autographed photo of Jeter, a Yankee's teddy bear, a magnet, and a copy of "Derek Jeter's All-Star Manual: 10 Life Lesson," DalFonso said.
"He was overwhelmed," said DalFonso. "He was so excited, he called his dad right away."
DalFonso, who uses her maiden name to protect her son, told Carter at the sentencing that her son was so shaken by the unprovoked attack he refuses to go to birthday parties and looks over his shoulder "a thousand times a day."
Carter did not tell DalFonso of his plan, but the mom did a little leg work and figured it out.
When she went to thank Carter, he wanted to make sure the boy knew everything would now be alright.
The judge brought the youngster into his chambers and showed him how far away from his home the assailant's prison was on a map and then showed him how strong the bars of a jail cell were.
"I wanted to give him some idea that he is safe from this person," said Carter. "And that it's not going to happen again."
"I think he feels better," said the boy's mother.
The story doesn't end there either.
At the end of the boy's visit with Carter, the judge told him that Jeter, himself, wanted the boy to come to a Yankee game and sit in his personal box seat.
"If that happens," DalFonso said, "it will be the highlight of his first nine years."
It just goes to show how a compassionate judge and a few connections can bring a smile to a traumatized young boy.