This post is a long time coming. Ever since my good friend took a job at the Boys & Girls Club (donate!), my eyes have been opened to the wonderful things they do at that organization. I knew peripherally with B&GC did, but wasn’t fully aware of how awesome this organization was.

And then I met Shaq.

Here’s the story. My friend at B&GC and I have been talking about doing a tour of one of the clubs so I could really see the operation first hand. We were scheduled for early December but then we had to reschedule for yesterday at 4pm. My friend said that it would be a good time because the kids would be getting some gifts. So I show up thinking we’re going to go on a tour, meet some kids, maybe hand out some gifts, and that will be that.

I walk into the gym area and don’t see my friend, but there’s a lot of Christmas-themed activity going on. I see some TV cameras which I kind of expected, and a big Santa seat in the middle of a ton of presents. I’m hanging out waiting for my friend and I notice something peculiar on the tarp hanging behind the Santa seat. There are logos of some sponsors but there is also a logo that says Shaq-a-Claus with a picture of Shaq wearing a Santa hat.

Immediately I think to myself: No. Can’t be. There’s no way Shaq is coming to meet the kids. Not here. Not today….I’m not going to meet Shaq today…am I?

I started to shake off the very notion, sort of in an un-jinxing way. Nah, Shaq isn’t coming, he probably just donates gifts to a bunch of clubs and they have that cute logo at all the clubs.

Because I spoiled the surprise in both the title of this blog post and in all my social media feeds yesterday, I’ll skip to the point. Shaq did show up, I did get to meet him and he’s GIGANTIC. Not just in size (though to be fair, he is the largest human being I’ve ever seen), but his heart is equally big. Turns out, Shaq is a “club kid”, meaning he spent his youth at Boys & Girls Clubs and credits that experience with giving him the opportunity to realize his dreams.

He spent time talking to the kids and he gave them all a bunch of presents that he personally purchased. You’ve never seen so many presents and of course, the 400 or so kids that were there were going nuts. For some of them, that will be the entirety of their Christmas experience. You could tell Shaq was genuine and really cared for those children, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with him.

So I’m asking my friends to donate some money this holiday to the Boys & Girls Club. The money is going to help kids who have very few things going their way. Like Shaq, you can be a bright spot in their life.

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