Pub­lisher’s note Shop­ping for Thanks­giv­ing din­ner— and Host­ess cup­cakes

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - Front Page -

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.

Photo by Miami Dol­phins

Jor­dan Cameron, left, Brykia and Stacy Os­trau

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