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November 16th, 2018

‘I know she had it in her,’ Liam Henderson says

An 11-year-old boy from Sarnia won’t be getting the title of Canada’s Smartest Person Junior, but he just might be crowned the sweetest.

It was near the end of the first episode when four contestants needed to fight for two spots to move on to the next episode. Liam Henderson saw his competitor was nervous, with tears running down her face, so he turned to her.

“Zoe, just take a deep breath OK. Stay calm,” he said quietly to Zoe Devalia, an 11-year-old girl from Scarborough, Ont. “You can’t think, if you’re not calm.”

Devalia nodded before wiping her eyes with her hands. She said those words were “just so nice of him.” Henderson was leading 2-0 at the time.

“Because even though he’s this close to winning, he still has the heart to turn around and say something that nice to me,” said Devalia.

Many others who saw that moment on social media were also touched.

“Every time I give up on humanity, something like this happens,” tweeted Sergio Gonzalez.

Henderson said he wanted his competitor to know she could do it.

“I could see Zoe was upset and I didn’t want her that way,” he said. “Because I know she had it in her, it’s just didn’t look like she knew it.”

“So I just wanted to let her know that she could do this as well, and I mean I’ve made a difference already and that’s amazing.”

Ultimately, Henderson lost to Devalia and had to be sent home early. But he’s not done with public life just yet.

Henderson has dreams of becoming a sports broadcaster — and prime minister.


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