Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has yet again proven he’s just as cool (if not cooler than) everybody’s favorite gift-giving, sled-bound saint. Tuesday morning, Johnson gave 11 kids from Child Protective Services a total of 80 seconds to fill their baskets with as many toys as they could find in the aisles of a Toys R Us. The Texans cheerleaders helped the kids grab everything in reach while family members looked on. After a minute and 20 seconds, Johnson paid the $16,266.26 tab.
Since 2007, Johnson has hosted this annual shopping spree for underprivileged and abused children. Last year’s tab added up to $17,352. The year before that? About $19,000. According to the Houston Texans:
“I’m pretty sure this is breathtaking for them,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t imagine this as a child. I always said if I ever made it, if I was blessed to make a lot of money, I always wanted to give back and do things for kids and just help people out. That’s why I do it.”
Georgia Gay’s grandson Benjamin was one of the kids selected for the shopping spree. Both of them beamed ear-to-ear as they waited for the festivities to begin.
“This is such a wonderful, wonderful blessing,” Georgia said. “Can you put words on this? You can’t put words on this. Especially as parents and grandparents, some of these things we won’t be able to buy at this time. I thank God for this, and I thank Andre Johnson for this.”
ESPN was also on hand for the occasion, tweeting several photos and interviewing Johnson:
“I just enjoy doing it,” Johnson said. “…I always felt like if I was ever to make it, I wanted to give back. You go through stuff as a kid growing up. You understand certain situations. I understand some of the things these kids go through.”
This is seriously the best thing ever.
Andre, I’m a terrible ex-Houstonian for not following your team (plus, I’m still angry about the Oilers). That said, your generous shenanigans just repaired one of the tinier cracks in my otherwise stone heart. A really tiny crack.