Publisher’s note Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner— and Hostess cupcakes
I amso looking forward to sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner today with my family (and also celebrating my big brother’s birthday).
But, I have to admit, part of me will be thinking about a young girl named Brykia, also known as Queen B, butwe’ll get to that in a bit. Brykiawas among125 kids whowere paired with a Miami Dolphins player to shop ‘til they dropped via the annual Publix Supermarkets Kids and Fins shopping spree.
Every year, the Dolphins and Publix hosts more than100 students from Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade schools who need a little help covering the cost of a perfect Thanksgiving meal. What could be more uplifting than two great teams coming together to support these deserving kids at a time when charitable needs are greater than ever?
Not to mention, the eventwas so fun for me andmy newBFF Brykia.
The evening started with a party. Therewas aDJ, wild dance-off and tons of Publix cupcakes decorated with aqua and orange frosting. Much of that frosting somehowended up all over me and Twan Russell, former Dolphins linebacker andUniversity of Miami standout, during a particularly fun – and sweet -- selfie moment.
Next, the kids were paired with a Dolphins player, alumni or cheerleader and then they hit the aisles to check items off their shopping lists. You could tell some kids had prior coaching fromtheir parents. Others roamed free, picking food and treats more fit for a Peanuts Thanksgiving than a real one.
I teamed up with Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron. Um. Can I say he looked more delicious than any of the pastries in the bakery, including those cupcakes? Jordan and I shopped with a 10th grader named Brykia. Jordanwas the one who dubbed our newpal Queen B. By night’s end, everyone called her that, and she loved it!
Brykia had a very organized shopping list, sowe hit the ground running. First, though, she had to educate Jordan about collard greens. The California boywas totally lost on that one. Unfortunately, by the time the lesson was over, the large bags of collard greens had been snatched up. But Queen B and Jordanworked their magic with a boy namedWillie and negotiated a bag away from him.
Aswe moved through the aisles, Jordan shared his favorite items with Brykia. He raved about the joys of Cherry 7-Up. She grabbed a12-pack for the cart. But the tough guy got nervous that her family might not like it andwanted to put the 7-Up back on the shelf. Brykia wouldn’t have it and put her foot down. She was adamant about enjoying Jordan’s favorite drink on turkey day. This dance went on a fewmore times with different items, and she carted away everything Jordan said he liked. Do you blame her? I suddenly loved Cherry 7-Up, too.
We had a great time going through Queen B’s list and picking out goodies for her family. And in between, the three of us talked about school, love and life. They say laughter is contagious. We shared lots of that, too.
The entire time I couldn’t help but think about how, herewas this famous football player, but the guy underneath the helmet and paddingwas just a big softie. Hewas sweet and fun and engaged in the experience. He made sure Queen B had a great night and that she got everything shewanted.
Spending time with Jordan Cameron, his Dolphins teammates and the gang of enthusiastic Publix associates reminded me there are really good people out there. They do good things, but not for awards, trophies or accolades. And I’m deeply thankful for that.
We can so easily get caught up in thinking about the big things that we forget to look around and see all the little things we take for granted every day. It seems so simple to shop for Thanksgiving dinner, but those couple of hours at Publix with Jordan probably changed this young lady’s life. It changed mine.
I also learned that sometimes a Hostess cupcake (another Jordan pick) can make the world go round!
Happy Thanksgiving. Share the happiness.
Jordan Cameron, left, Brykia and Stacy Ostrau