Seahawks defensive end Greg Scruggs hasn't been able to take the field this season because he's recovering from knee surgery. But it didn't stop him from rushing to help a single mother who lost the only money she had to spend on Christmas presents for her four children.
Scruggs says he was watching Q13 Fox news Wednesday night when he saw a story about the woman. She had been shopping at a Woodinville Target with $300 in gift cards given to her by a Duvall church just before Christmas. As she went to check out, she accidentally left them on the counter. Two men walked off with the cards, leaving the woman devastated, says King County Sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West.
A sheriff's deputy who responded to the call drove the woman to a nearby gas station and filled her gas tank out of his own pocket, West says.
Scruggs says the minute he saw the story, he knew he had to do something.
"I didn't even think twice about. I said I'm going to go get her a gift card tomorrow."
Giving back is near and dear to me and is somewhat of a coping mechanism since I can't play -- this was just one of many ways of coping..— Greg Scruggs (@G_Scruggs) January 17, 2014
Scruggs went to a Target in Renton Thursday during a break between practice and meetings and bought the woman a $300 gift card.
"And I put it in the Christmas card for her since it was Christmas time and I said, 'Hey, I'm sorry for your misfortune but hopefully this can help you bounce back a little bit,'" he says.
There's good reason the story hit so close to home. Scruggs says it reminded him of his own upbringing in Ohio, raised by a single mother of four struggling to make ends meet.
"My mother cried some Christmases when she couldn't get the kids anything," he says. "When I heard it was all the money she had, that definitely related to me and I did what I could," he says of the gift card.
Scruggs says he was going to remain anonymous, but now that word has gotten out he's hopeful it can help inspire others.
"There's already enough negativity about pros and if this is an opportunity to put some authenticity to some genuine courtesy and kindness, yeah go ahead, why not, man," he says. "Truthfully, hopefully it inspires somebody else to give. I've got a platform to do that, so why not."
Scruggs wasn't the only one moved by the story. The two men who took the cards saw the story and turned themselves in after it aired. They have offered to reimburse the woman as well, West says.
And even though he hasn't played a down all season, he's still become a favorite thanks to his generosity.
"I'm going to the Seahawks team store Friday and getting myself a #98 jersey," West says.