See, Colin Kaepernick isn’t the only kindhearted, good-natured professional football player in the world.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III helped spread good holiday cheer when he paid off the layaway debt for 60 Florida families earlier this week.
The NFL rookie returned to his Marion County hometown to bring a Christmas miracle to people who had products on layaway at an outpost of Burlington Coat Factory in the Shady Oaks Shopping Center in Ocala, Fla.
“I just wanted to help out my city a little bit, and all y’all layaway has been paid off,” Gilbert, who worked with the Pay Away the Layaway organization, told shoppers on Tuesday, WESH-TV reported.
According to the Ocala Star-Banner, the 2019 sixth-round NFL Draft pick spent thousands of dollars after being inspired by Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Harris, who had paid off layaways at another Burlington Coat Factory.
Launched in 2011, Pay Away the Layaway is a nonprofit foundation that raises funds all year to pay off layaways for children at stores like Kmart, Burlington, Walmart, Navy Exchange, and the Army & Air Force Exchange during back-to-school and the holidays.
Gilbert showed much gratitude to the organization for allowing him the opportunity to be of service to others.
“Glad i was able to give y’all one less thing to stress about, because holidays are all about family, God, love, and laughter,” he wrote on Instagram Tuesday.
“[Gilbert] is a good person,” Burlington store manager Mark Shipman told the newspaper. “You could tell he was doing it for the right reasons, out of the kindness from his heart.”
Gilbert played for Trinity Catholic High School and the University of Akron before entering the NFL last spring.
On Nov. 6, Yahoo Sports reported that the Steelers placed Gilbert on the injured/reserve list since last month, due to ongoing back issues.