Darrell Wood and Gene Sims
On April 26 2021, Humans of New York (HONY) published an interview with Gene Sims and Tina Sims, in which they described their lives and an encounter with a man named Darrell Wood. www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork/posts/5828397703900948
In May 1972, two young children, Gene Sims (age 3) and Tina Sims (age 1) were left in the care of a babysitter. The babysitter had to leave in an emergency, and the children were left with the sitter's daughter and her 23-year-old boyfriend, Darrell Wood.
According to the testimony of Tina and the Kansas courts Darrell Wood did not like hearing a crying baby. Darrell Wood beat a 1-year old baby girl to the point of broken bones. He then beat the 3-year-old boy into a coma. The boy, Gene Sims, was left physically and mentally disabled for the rest of his life, to this day.
Darrell Wood served a 1-year jail sentence. He has since gone on to live a full, healthy life and is active on social media, as seen below. He has 3 children and 9 grandchildren.
Tina Sims recounted the events, as told by her mother: "the boyfriend began to shake you. Then he began to beat you. He beat you so hard that he broke the bones in your body." Now my mother turned to Gene. She was crying at this point: "And Gene—Gene, you tried to stop it. You were only three years old, but you tried to stop it. You started beating against that man’s legs. So he picked you up and threw you against the wall. You almost died. And when you woke up from your coma-- things just weren’t the same."
(3/7) “I’m old now. I’m fifty. But I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. Gene and I were sitting on the...Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, April 26, 2021
The full story is in 7 parts on Humans of New York. See link to part 3 above, describing the attack. Gene is alive, and has lived his whole life with a dent in his head from the attack and a non-working arm and mental disabilities that have robbed him of the ability to function as a normal person or adult. The HONY story is worth a read. It describes Tina's and Gene's life these past 50 years since Darrell beat them.
Humans of New York did not publish the name of the man who carried out the attack on Gene and Tina. But HONY did publish a newspaper clipping with the name blurred out, and Tina did describe finding the man online via a news article, both of which are easy to find. The Facebook community quickly identified the man as Darrell Wood, husband of Donna Wood. Darrell J Wood of Great Bend Kansas or Newton Kansas, Harvey County KS.
The HONY community also found and linked to his active Facebook profile. It contains some nice things, like a photo of him and his wife Donna.
Darrell also publishes lots of memes, like the below "Which Legendary Creature are You?" with the answer that Darrell Wood is a Darrell-Centaur who is naturally brave and who always fights for what he believes in and protects those he loves. Or this meme in which he proudly posts his status as "88% asshole".
But the Facebook Humans of New York crowd became angry when they discovered other memes such as the below. They said it shows a complete lack of humility or recognition for what he did, beating two babies and leaving one permanently disabled with no chance to lead a normal life.
The were especially enraged that such a man would have the audacity to make an anti-bullying post, or a post jokingly stating that "my temper can go from zero to life in prison in two seconds" when in fact he only served 1 year in jail and did not serve life in prison as he should have.
The Facebook comments wondered if his 3 kids or 9 grandkids are aware of what happened. They wonder if Darrell knows the amount of pain he caused for Gene's mom, for Tina, and for Gene himself, an innocent child whose life was robbed of the ability to function normally, to get married and have kids, like Darrell got to. What did Darrell think when he held his own little children and grandchildren in his arms? Did he think of Gene and Tina?
Was he abusive to Donna, Jeremy, Michelle, Debra, Kelly, and other people in his life? Most people think he just moved on and enjoyed his life and family while the Sims family was left to suffer for the past 50 years.
Ultimately, the HONY story is about Tina and Gene Sims, not Darrell. They are not aware of Darrell's Facebook page, nor do they know anything about him, other than that he's married with kids and grandkids.
Tina concludes that she'll never forgive him for destroying Gene's life. But Gene has a different take. He forgives Darrell. Gene said,
"One day I’m going to get a new body in heaven, and I’ll be able to do all the things that other people can do. I hope the man who did this to me is there. In heaven. I believe he’ll be there. Because God says we should forgive people no matter what. And everyone deserves a second chance. So I hope he’s in heaven. And when I see him there I’d like to ask him some things. Like why did he do it to me? Maybe he didn’t know what he was doing. Maybe he was angry at the world, and he was angry at God. I know what that’s like because I was angry at God once.
Maybe the man was really sorry about what he did. And maybe he lived with that pain for the rest of his life. So when I see him in heaven I’m going to tell him, face-to-face, that I forgive him and I love him. And then I’d like to talk to God. But not like he’s God-- I want to talk to him like he’s my friend. I’m going to ask him for forgiveness. And I’m going to say: ‘Do you love me? No matter what?’ I hope he tells me ‘yes.’ And that he understands why I made the mistakes that I made. And that he forgives me no matter what. Then I’m going to ask him
about the day I got hurt. Like why did it happen? Because I was just a baby, and I’m not sure why he would let somebody hurt a baby like that."
People say Gene Sims was a hero, who as a tiny 3-year-old bravely tried to fight 23-year-old Darrell Wood and saved his sister's life. If seeing an unconsious little Gene slumped on the floor made Darrell stop what he was doing, maybe Gene did in fact save Tina's life.
Humans of New York allows people to tell their stories. The story of Gene is heart-wrenching. It is interesting that it finished with two different takes: one: of Gene showing forgiveness, and two: of Tina not.