ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Redskins running backs Rob Kelley and Keith Marshall were checking out games in a store when the latter overheard a conversation. A boy of 10 years quizzed the cashier on the cost of a certain game.
Marshall then asked Kelley: “You want to help him out and get it for him?”
“The first thing that clicked in my head was, I always wanted someone to do that for me when I was a kid,” Kelley said. “My people couldn’t walk into a store and buy me stuff I really wanted, but with stuff going on in your family, some stuff you can’t get.”
But now that Kelley can afford it, he and Marshall decided to buy the boy an Xbox. At first, Jaden Watts didn’t understand what the two players were offering to do. Finally they said, “If you want the game, say yes.” Jaden then said he wanted to make sure it was OK with his grandmother.
“She did not believe me,” Jaden, who was wearing a red Colin Kaepernick 49ers jersey, told the Washington Post about his grandmother. “She thought it was some person who was joking with me or something.”
“I’ve been in that place where I wanted something and couldn’t have it,” Kelley said. “So it felt good just to be in a position to spare two, three hundred dollars to help a kid out like it’s not going to affect me no type of way. Why not? I understand what he’s going through.
“I had moments where we were poor and moments like, we were never rich, but moments where I had a scooter and other kids didn’t have a scooter. But we had moments where all we had to drink was water. So I’ve been in both parts. It’s so easy to identify certain things with kids.”
Kelley and Marshall posed for a picture with the 10-year-old boy, Jaden Watts, and his grandmother; that’s around the time they discovered that their September Santas were Redskins.
“When we introduced ourselves they’re like, ‘Oh, Rob Kelley. I know you!’ But at first that’s what made it so good. He didn’t know us,” Kelley said.
Kelley did not want to post the picture with the family on social media. The story seeped out only because another customer posted what happened on Facebook.
“That’s not what I did it for,” Kelley said. “It’s cool that everyone knew it, but I’m not trying to promote it. Me and Keith, we didn’t want to take a picture because we didn’t want to make it seem like we’re trying to make it seem like that. We had a conversation for a long time and talked to the GameStop people for a minute. But we wanted to make it known that it was not a publicity stunt.”