May 30, 2010
Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco(notes), formerly Chad Johnson, may have a slight strain of the diva receiver characteristic, but there's a humanity that has always separated him from the Keyshawns and T.O.s of the world. You get the sense that when he struggles, it's more about finding his way and when he showboats, it's more about entertaining than a driving need to be obnoxious. If anyone doubted the true nature of the man, the video you're about to see, which was shot at the third annual gala fundraiser for the Children Mending Hearts organization in Hollywood, Calif., should take care of that.
Nine-year-old Ruben St. Hilaire, Jr, who lives with this mother in a homeless shelter in New York City, received an autographed jersey from Ochocinco after sending a letter. He then sent a second letter that would have melted the heart of the hardest individual.
Mr. Johnson, you really make me happy. One of my goals in my future life is to be just like you when I grow up. I wonder who was your role model when you were little? I have three role model(s) in my life that's my mom, Mr. President Barack Obama and my favorite football player Mr. Chad Johnson. To me you are the best football player in the NFL. May God bless you and your family happy holidays.
Ruben's dream was to go to a football camp, and that particular prize was donated by Deion Sanders. Presenting the certificate for camp attendance, unbeknownst to Ruben, would be the very same Mr. Ochocinco. Ruben's hero was introduced after the young boy read his letter. Bonus — it was Ruben's birthday! Rich Eisen of the NFL Network set the scene at the podium, and what followed was a pretty great moment.
If that wasn't amazing enough. Ochocinco then led the crowd in a verse of "Happy Birthday" for his biggest fan. It was an amazing day for Ruben St. Hilaire Jr., and probably a pretty special for Chad Ochocinco, as well.
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