TEMPE, Ariz. — Much to his surprise, a $50 act of kindness made Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham an internet hero.
“It was crazy,” he said after the Cardinals went through voluntary workouts Tuesday. “I really wasn’t expecting it.”
It all started when Gresham was standing in line behind Delilah Cassidy at an American Airlines gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
He could hear her being told that under the airline’s policy, she had to pay $25 for each of two carry-ons that wouldn’t fit under her seat. She had cash but it wasn’t accepted at the gate so she was in danger of missing her flight. So Gresham pulled out his credit card and paid, a random act of kindness.
“That’s pretty much what it was,” he said. “I hope anyone would have done that. I don’t know. I just felt that’s how I was raised, my core values. Somebody in distress, just help them out. Nothing more, nothing less.”
We love hearing from our former interns. We really love hearing from them with a story like this one. Be sure to read this thread! @NFLonFOX #BirdGang https://t.co/XXfTihf5pF
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) May 30, 2018
To say Cassidy was grateful is an understatement.
“She was very nice,” Gresham said. “She was very, very, very appreciative. She thanked me I want to say maybe 20 times.”
She told azcentral.com that she was in tears as she boarded the plane.
“I gave him this huge hug,” she said. “I was crying into Jermaine Gresham. I didn’t know it was him.”
Cassidy said that when they landed, she offered to pay him in cash but he declined and told her to pay it forward.
She had her photo taken with Gresham and told her story on Twitter.
It went viral.
Gresham had no idea until he heard from a Cardinals employee who follows such things.
“He said, ‘You’re a viral sensation,’ I said, `For what? I didn’t get arrested,’” Gresham said. “He sent me this picture and everything and I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’”
WOW okay so the most amazing thing just happened to me and I can’t help but share it with the world. American Airlines instituted a new policy where you have to pay to take a carry-on onto the plane. Which is ridiculous but off topic.
— Delilah Cassidy (@Delilah_Cassidy) May 30, 2018
He seemed surprised that what he considered a small gesture wound up being such a big deal.
“I was right there,” he said. “I had my wallet in my pocket. Just here, swipe my card. It’s 50 bucks. Catch your flight. There wasn’t much to it.”
Gresham, who is recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, said he made a great investment.
“I hope everybody in the world would do something like that,” Gresham said. “Seeing her smile and her appreciation was worth it 10 times over.”
Of course he couldn’t escape some gentle ribbing from teammates.
“That’s the Walter Payton Man of the Year right there,” offensive tackle D.J. Humphries said as he walked by.