A young Evertonian got his ultimate Blue Crimbo wish when his hero Richarlison took him to get a haircut just like his own - before the stunned teenager discovered his family are being sent on a dream holiday to Disneyland Paris.
Goodison Park Season Ticket Member Dominic, 14, was nominated for the surprise by his dad, Paul, after a tough year in which he has been separated from his younger brother, Kieran, 11, and lost his grandfather, Stuart.
Dominic, from St Helens, believed his dad had won a free haircut at Cut Throat Pete’s barbers on an Everton in the Community matchday scratchcard.
In fact, on arriving at the store in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, the youngster was instead greeted by Brazil international Richarlison, who even took charge of the clippers to help give Dominic a new style inspired by his own.
Richarlison then played a phone message from Blues defender Seamus Coleman, who revealed Dominic’s special Christmas prize.
“Last year his brother, who’s younger and autistic, went into a residential home to help him with his difficulties and earlier this year my dad passed away,” said Paul.
“He misses his grandad and he misses his brother, and meeting Richarlison is just amazing for him. He’s his favourite player and he’s just completely surprised by it all.”
Dominic’s mum, Claire, added: “We took the decision about 15 months ago to let Kieran move to the residential facility to let him get some help and hopefully he’ll be home again at some point next year.
“But, at the moment, we only see him fortnightly and it’s been really tough for Dominic. We do get to go out with him and have fun days when we do see him but he definitely misses having his little brother around.
“It’s been really exciting keeping this surprise from him and it was great to see his face today. To see the tears from him when he heard about the holiday from Seamus, it was just lovely to see his total surprise.”
The holiday voucher, donated by Everton’s official match breaks and team travel partner Thomas Cook Sport, will allow the family to visit France whenever Kieran is well enough to do so.
“We went away without Kieran last year and it was probably the worst decision we’ve ever made,” said Paul. “We all wanted to come home after two days and we promised not to go on holiday again until Kieran’s home. This will be a great opportunity for us as a family to go somewhere and relax.
“They both like their rides so we’ll all be really looking forward to it.”
Dominic was delighted with his new look and can’t wait to show it off to his school mates, alongside a selection of selfies with his Toffees hero and signed 2018/19 home shirt.
“I’m really happy how my hair has turned out. I’ve wanted to get it done like Richarlison’s anyway so it’s great,” said the shocked youngster.
“I just thought it was a regular hair cut. When Richi turned around, I thought I was in the wrong place! I didn’t realise it was all for me.
“I thought I was dreaming and then when I heard about going to Disneyland with my family, I just thought this can’t be true, I must still be sleeping.
“None of my friends will believe me that I’ve met Richarlison. It’s very special.
“Obviously I won’t have my brother home for Christmas but to meet Richarlison, my favourite footballer, is just a dream.”
Richarlison, who has netted eight goals for Everton since joining the Club from Watford in the summer, added: “It was an honour to spend time with Dominic and his family and hopefully give them a bit of a lift this Christmas.
“I know they have had a difficult year and I feel very inspired by the strength they have shown as a family.
“I loved that Dominic wanted his hair just like mine. Pete did a great job and I think Dominic looks really cool.”
Watch the video above to see what happened when Dominic met Richarlison. Alternatively, click here
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