An Oral History of John Cena’s Worst Make-A-Wish Visit
WWE superstar John Cena has met more sick children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation than any other celebrity, but it doesn’t go smoothly every time. This is the story of John Cena’s worst-ever Make-A-Wish, a visit to 12-year-old Caleb Porter, as told by the parents, doctors, and nurses who saw the debacle go down.
Jodie Stringer (Caleb’s mom): When Caleb was diagnosed, he knew right away what he wanted to do with his Make-A-Wish: Meet Deadmau5.
Marc Stringer (Caleb’s Stepdad): I guess there was some sort of scheduling error, so John Cena showed up instead. When he first walked in, you could tell he was expecting a big reaction. But it didn’t come. John Cena, though, he cares about sick kids so much, so he pushed through. He asked if Caleb liked wrestling, and Caleb said no.
Jodie Stringer (Caleb’s mom): I could tell John was trying to keep the conversation light, but they were not on the same page about anything. Caleb likes his orange juice without pulp, John likes it with pulp. Caleb has a PS4 because he cares about exclusives, and John got an Xbox One X because he cares about graphics. They even tried to do something as innocuous together as watching YouTube videos, but they couldn’t pick one. Caleb wanted to watch epic prank videos and John wanted to watch soldiers coming home to their excited dogs. All of a sudden, they were in a shouting match.
Terrence Quist (Caleb’s pediatrician): Some personalities just don’t mix. I mean, John and Caleb … they’re both such alphas.
Kayla Pitt (Caleb’s nurse): Things really started to break down when John asked Caleb how he’d answer the Trolley Problem. You know, that hypothetical question they ask you in ethics classes, where like if you’re in a trolley heading towards a group of people, would you pull the lever and divert the trolley so as to kill only one person?
Marc Stringer (Caleb’s Stepdad): Now, Caleb’s a strict utilitarian, so he said he would pull the lever. John believed that to pull the lever was to participate in the moral crime, so of course, they got into another shouting match. Neither could see the other’s point of view.
Terrence Quist (Caleb’s pediatrician): That’s when John Cena left, and we thought it was done. But no, that man was determined to bring some happiness to that little boy. I mean, he was wearing a bright orange shirt that said “Never give up,” so I don’t know what else I was expecting.
Marc Stringer (Caleb’s Stepdad): John still texts Caleb to this day, looking for something—anything—he can do to make Caleb happy. He bought us all tickets to Toy Story 4, and Caleb liked it, but he told John he still thinks Toy Story 2 is the best, so they ended up on the phone in a shouting match anyway. Those two might be like Batman and the Joker: Two enemies locked in battle for all their lives.
Jodie Stringer (Caleb’s mom): When Caleb was first diagnosed, they gave him nine months to live. That was 13 years ago. Caleb is still here, and I think we have his blinding hatred of John Cena to thank. Or blame. I honestly don’t know. Caleb is very angry all of the time.