CHICAGO (CBS) — A local organization is truly putting the “father” in Father Christmas.
A group of young men just completed training to become better dads, and on Tuesday, a Secret Santa swooped in to make their holiday even more special.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory was there for the surprise.
The men’s faces lit up like those of kids on Christmas morning, as they received gifts for their own kids. The young and at-risk fathers are trying to do better, so unexpected gifts help their prospects for parenting.
But minutes earlier, the men were blindfolded – and blindsided – for another gift.
Before we reveal the big surprise, here’s a quick backstory. The dads recently got to go to a Chicago Bears training – a perk of completing a training of their own.
They had learned parenting skills through a nonprofit called the Dovetail Project.
Apparently, someone with a football was touched. One of the Bears gave everyone in the group $1,000 as an anonymous gift.
Upon removing the blindfolds, shock led to shuddering and crying on Christmas Eve – but happy tears.
“You all changed the outcome of a whole lot of stuff I had going on,” one man said.
“I was in a very dark moment in my life before, and then for the first time, I actually felt some work,” another said.
Always preaching responsibility, Dovetail Project founder Sheldon Smith told the grateful group to take their paper checks right to the bank.
“I just hope they use it for their families and themselves in the best way possible,” Smith said when asked what he hoped the men would do with the checks.
We know Lamar Jackson did just that. The father-to-be didn’t head to a store. He went right to Fifth-Third Bank, and then to his mother’s house.
“She’s like my number one supporter, and I’m going to show her that I care, and I’m going to give back to her also,” Jackson said.
Jackson coaxed his mother out of her house, and surprised her with our camera – and half of his money for her bills.
“I know everything you’re going through, so I’m going to be your supporter,” Jackson told his tearful mother.
So which Bears player made this all possible? The people at the Dovetail Project refused to tell Victory, so I guess we’ll just have to call him Santa.