Sunderland AFC news: Luke O'Nien's heartwarming gesture to stricken Middlesbrough fan

Luke O’Nien has once again proved his credentials as the nicest man in Sunderland.

Just days before Sunderland’s game against Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light in the Championship, the Black Cats defender came to the aid of a stricken motorist on the A19.

Sarah Whitaker, accompanied by her kids and heading home from Dalton Park, suffered a flat tyre on her car whilst heading southbound. Sarah and her family had already waited an hour and a half on a grass verge in the cold waiting for the recovery truck before O’Nien arrived to offer some moral support.

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“After an hour and a half, we were really cold,” Sarah explained to The Echo. “Which was when Luke had driven past, he circled back and stopped the car, he thought my children were crying as they were huddled with a blanket around them trying to keep warm.

SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Luke O'Nien of Sunderland celebrates scoring the winner during the FA Cup third round match between Shrewsbury Town and Sunderland at Montgomery Waters Meadow on January 7, 2023 in Shrewsbury, England. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

“He said If he pulled into a safer spot did we want him to wait so that we could all get warm while we waited for the truck, I’d said no it’s okay, don’t worry, we will be fine. However, he said he was on his way back from puppy classes with his lovely dog.

"We were so grateful for the offer, we gladly accepted as long as we weren’t spoiling his day. At this point we had no clue whatsoever who Luke was, he was just a kind stranger, we were chatting for maybe 20 minutes before the subject came up about why he moved up here (as his accent clearly isn’t northern) he explained that he moved up for work.

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“I asked him if he went to university in Sunderland, and he said no I play football, I was surprised and asked if he played for anyone that we knew, and that’s when he said, Sunderland. We are actually Middlesbrough fans, so I wasn’t familiar with the Sunderland first team.

"We then proceeded to chat about the upcoming game Sunderland vs Middlesbrough, which was when Luke had explained that we wouldn’t be playing as he had been sent off the previous match and was absolutely devastated.

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"There are preconceptions about footballers, however, Luke breaks all of those, what a selfless, kind, family-oriented lad he really is. Not all heroes wear capes, some wear a Sunderland shirt!”