The New Orleans Saints and Verizon Wireless teamed up to deliver "Random Acts of Kindness" around New Orleans on Tuesday
Joining Saints and Verizon staff members were FB Jed Collins, LB Chris Chamberlain, C Brian de la Puente, K Garrett Hartley, DT Akiem Hicks, TE Michael Higgins, LB Curtis Lofton, DE Greg Romeus and OT Zach Strief. Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XII Champion Tony Dorsett, Saints Ambassador Michael Lewis and mascot Sir Saint rounded out the group.
"We just wanted to give back a little bit and maybe brighten up some days," said Strief, one of the eight active Saints players who attended event. "Sometimes it's the things that you don't expect that can mean the most to you."
The event was held as part of the NOLA 10, a series of 10 events hosted by different Super Bowl champions celebrating 10 Super Bowls in the city of New Orleans.
The Verizon bus made five stops around the city and the group showed their support of the local community by meeting fans, signing autographs or picking up the tab at various retail locations.
"It's a really good experience to get to give back, hang out with the fans and people from Verizon and the do the things that we love to do," said Hicks. "Partnering with Verizon has been great and this whole NOLA 10 experience has been awesome."
The first stop was made at the Entergy Corporation Building where the players surprised employees at their desks with posters, autographs and gift cards. After spending some time talking with the employees and posing for photos, the players boarded back on the bus to head to the second stop.
The group arrived at the Volunteers of America Homeless Military Housing Unit next where residents were greeted by the players bearing care packages and gift cards. Verizon also purchased an additional assortment of items that were donated to the shelter to accommodate all sixty residents among all locations.
Gerald "Pierre" Rooks, the Program Director of Veteran Services, said the partnership was very beneficial and that the visit was highly appreciated.
"The turnout of the players was tremendous and having a Hall of Fame running back show up was a pleasant surprise," said Rooks. "The guys were really looking forward to it and I am sure it's going to be a boost to their morale."
The bus then traveled to a local Chevron gas station where everyone at the pump received a free gas card. The players helped fill up the cars while passing out the gift cards and Sir Saint even helped wash off a few windshields.
The fourth stop was at a local Verizon Wireless store where the group was able to meet and talk with store employees and customers while distributing posters. The players spent most of this time posing for photographs and signing autographs.
The final stop was at a New Orleans area McDonald's restaurant where the players split up and helped the McDonald's staff serve up free meals to any customer that ordered during the visit. De la Puente, Collins and Strief manned the French fry station, Hartley and Higgins mastered the soft-serve ice cream machine and Lewis, Romeus and Hicks became experts at the drive-thru windows while everyone else helped out in between.
Overall, the players were excited to take advantage of the opportunity to give back to the local fan base.
"Any time you get to spread a little love, it's always a good time," said Collins. "Random Acts of Kindness is centered around that. With Verizon's backing, we got to shake some hands, sign some things and go out and see the fans that have supported us through a tough year and are excited about this year coming up."