"Blind Side" family's story inspires others

Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:24am EDT
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By Chelsea Emery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy welcomed a 16-year-old stranger into their home they had no idea their story would become the plot of the best-selling book and award-winning film "The Blind Side."

In their own book, "In a Heartbeat," the couple describes why they took Michael Oher, a boy from the ghetto who had been living in foster homes, into their care, provided a tutor for him to improve his grades and later adopted him.

They also describe their charitable approach to helping others, which they call the "popcorn theory."

"Stay low key. Work around your area. Help those to the left and to the right," Leigh Anne Tuohy said in an interview. "It'll start a huge ripple effect. We've seen it."

She and her husband barely thought about the possible risks when they took in 6.5 foot Oher, who later joined the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.

"The popcorn theory is that there are all these kernels in the pan and if it heats up, the hottest pop up," Tuohy explained. "We believe Michael was a hot kernel, a big one, and he popped right up in front of our face. We had no agenda."


The couple believes giving should be done with a cheerful heart. Too often, guilt or obligation spur donations and taint the experience.   Continued...

<p>Couple Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, who were made famous by the book and hit movie "The Blind Side", pose in this undated handout photo released to Reuters on July 21, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Tucker/Handout</p>