CANTON, Ohio — Kurt Warner received a call at around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and got the news that his children couldn’t make it to an eagerly anticipated reception for his Hall of Fame induction. Due to weather, their connecting flight from Chicago to Cleveland was canceled.
“The kids were coming from a couple different places, and eventually, all flights were canceled out of Chicago,” Warner said Friday during a media session in advance of Saturday’s enshrinement ceremonies.
Warner quickly got in touch with the Hall of Fame’s executive director, David Baker, and made a desperate plea.
“I said, ‘I don’t like to throw the name out that I’m a Hall of Famer, but if you’ve got anybody that could help a Hall of Famer out and send a jet, or has a jet in that [Chicago] area and we could get my kids down here, that would be great,’” Warner said.
Baker then reached out to Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, who had just arrived in Canton on a private jet, and Bidwill immediately called Warner, the Cardinals quarterback from 2005-09.
“Michael told me he heard my kids are stuck, and he said, ‘I’m turning my guys around to Chicago, we’ll grab ’em and bring ’em back,’ ” the 46-year-old Warner said. “It was awesome.”
The kids were late to the party and weren’t dressed for the occasion, but they had a great time nevertheless.
“They showed up about halfway through the party,” he said. “Everybody else is dressed up, but they’re in tennis shoes and shorts, dancing and having a blast.”
Saturday night, they’ll have a front-row seat to watch Warner be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And Warner will remain indebted to Bidwill.
“I told Michael he’s been my savior twice — bring me to Arizona one time and getting my kids here a second time,” Warner said. “It was cool. I can’t thank him enough for doing that, but it was awesome. As I realize, there’s nothing I do that’s normal, right? There’s always going to be something that goes wrong along the way, but ultimately, that’s what makes it all so much more memorable. They got there and we had a blast. My grandbaby was there, too, and it was a wonderful night.”