Wheelchair-bound Cavs fan sees the good in NE Ohio

Wheelchair-bound Cavs fan sees the good in NE Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - With a sea of people at the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade, there were plenty of memorable moments caught on camera. But there's one taken by Ryan Puente that stands out.

Puente snapped the photo of Yianni Thallas, 34, in a wheelchair being lifted above the crowd.

"I really had no intention of sharing it on social media," he said.

Thallas has been in a wheelchair since he was 20. He was injured diving into a swimming pool.

He was hoping to shake hands with his favorite player, Kyrie Irving, but he says that never happened.

"Even though I didn't see anything, even though I was lifted, I still didn't see anyone -- it was still worth going down there," Thallas said.

The picture has gone viral, but for Puente, it was more than the moment.

"I was excited Yianni was excited, and overall it was a good day -- a testament to Cleveland," Puente said.

A testament to his family getting him to downtown Cleveland, a testament to the kindness of strangers, and a testament that even though Thallas is in a wheelchair, he says he can see goodness in northeast Ohio when others don't.

"Around the world (people are) surprised -- Cleveland is not surprised, the fans aren't surprised. You bring 1.3 million people together and this is what you get out of it," he said.

Follow Cleveland 19 News:  

Download the Cleveland 19 News app

Copyright 2016 WOIO. All rights reserved.