OCALA, Fla. — For many families, it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle when a Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker paid off layaways for 60 families in Florida, WESH reports.
Ulysees Gilbert says he got the idea when he saw other professional athletes paying off layaway debt on social media.
“I just wanted to help out my city a little bit so every layaway is paid off,” Gilbert said.
“I about fell out cause I owed a bunch. Buying Christmas toys for my kids and clothes,” said Sherita Graham, a customer.
Graham says the act of kindness means more than Gilbert will ever know.
She and her husband are taking care of grandkids and had $500 worth of items to pay for.
“My husband and I are both on social security and disability,” Graham said. “We got hurt on the job. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for him. I could tear up now.”
Gilbert partnered with the non-profit “Pay Away the Layaway” to make the impact for his forever neighbors.
The store says he paid off nearly $10,000 worth of items for more than 60 families.
At 22 years old, he is a rookie in the NFL but already finding a way to make a difference.
“Came back home and took care of his hometown people by giving them a Christmas. I think that’s just wonderful. His momma has done a fabulous job with him,” Graham said.
Gilbert’s reason to celebrate the holiday season isn’t over yet.
His Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens Sunday ahead of the start of the NFL playoffs.