He may not have actually taken in a game, but this lifelong Patriots fan from New Bedford was thrilled to see Gillette Stadium for Christmas.

Michael Silva has loved the Patriots for decades but never had the chance to see a game in person.

Having lived with spina bifida since birth, Michael has spent years in and out of hospitals, nursing homes and rehab facilities recovering from numerous surgeries. He also uses a wheelchair to get around.

Unfortunately, finding someone with a vehicle that can take you and your wheelchair to Gillette wasn't easy for Michael and so even though it was so close, a trip to Patriot Place had never happened.

Until this past Christmas.

This past summer, Michael and his younger sister Michele lost their mother. So little sis knew she needed to do something big for Michael this holiday.

Though she tried to actually get tickets to the Patriots-Dolphins game, seats in the stadium's only handicapped section were sold out and she was out of luck.

But the dream wasn't dead yet.

Once Michele was in town for the holidays, she says her boyfriend suggested taking a drive to Patriot Place for the day. Michael had never seen anything up there and honestly, everything Robert Kraft has built around the stadium is pretty impressive in and of itself.

So they surprised the 52-year-old Patriots fan with a trip to the stadium and even took him to the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Courtesy of Michele Silva
Courtesy of Michele Silva

Michael was thrilled. He told me that going there was something he's always wanted to do and the experience was great.

He described seeing the Patriots six Super Bowl rings on display and being able to go through part of the tunnel that the team runs through before each home game.

But he tells me his favorite part of the Hall of Fame experience was the exhibit where fans can be a part of the on-field huddle with Tom Brady. You can step right in, hear what it sounds like when Brady makes a call and are surrounded by mannequins dressed like players to make it all seems so real.

Courtesy of Michele Silva
Courtesy of Michele Silva

Sounds pretty cool to me, too.

I love that this lifelong Patriots fan finally got to check out Gillette Stadium in person. And as Michael says, next time he's there, he's going all the way inside the stadium.

Seeing a game live is still the biggest item on Michael's bucket list, though he joked he'll probably have to wait until after Brady's gone to do it.

I certainly hope his dream gets to come true soon, because Michael may be moving to Tennessee to be closer to his sister before 2020 is over.

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