The logistics of such a massive surprise make the charitable act all the more impressive.
Andrew Whitworth has made a name for himself in the NFL as a fearsome Pro Bowl lineman, but his acts off the field have endeared him not just to Rams fans, but the Los Angles community at large. In typical generous fashion, Whitworth celebrated turning 36 by visiting Grape Street Elementary, gifting students with much more than his presence. The offensive tackle arrived with more than 550 bikes and helmets — one for every student enrolled at the school.
Though Whitworth orchestrated the event with school administrators, the kids were kept in the dark until he made the big reveal, which was captured on video.
Can't get enough of this. Here's more video of Rams LT Andrew Whitworth surprising kids at Grape Street Elementary.… https://t.co/BM3qaV2Q5p— Lindsey Thiry (@Lindsey Thiry)1513113934.0
Not only did Whitworth go entirely out-of-pocket to pay for the hundreds of bikes, but he personally took it upon himself to ensure that his act didn’t deprive any other shoppers of bikes, according to L.A. Times reporter Lindsey Thiry (via FTW). The massive undertaking required several moving trucks just to transport and house the bikes prior to the big reveal.
Literally two semi trucks and a third big truck piled with bikes. https://t.co/bbj6HSJ9Yr— Lindsey Thiry (@Lindsey Thiry)1513104341.0
Whitworth’s generosity made both national and local headlines, but also garnered a shout-out from his (much younger) teammate and Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who couldn’t resist a dig at Whitworth’s age while commending the gesture.
Happy 45th birthday to the man that protects my blindside! One of the best around. Happy bday Big Whit!… https://t.co/B1g3LK3XXh— Jared Goff (@Jared Goff)1513103399.0
The nature of the dangerous sport and the league’s ownership make careers as long and productive as Whitworth’s a rarity. It’s clear from his track record of charitable giving that he doesn’t take his good fortune for granted, all the while allowing his community to enjoy his success as well. Recently, Whitworth pledged $5,000 per game played to provide assistance to the families affected and displaced by the recent California wildfires.
It’s anyone’s guess as to what Whitworth has up his sleeve for his next charitable act, but he can spend the interim knowing that he’s made a big difference for many children in his recently-adopted hometown of Los Angeles.