Bowl gifts have become as much a part of the bowl season as the games themselves over the years. Players are handed gift cards with hundreds of dollars to stores like Best Buy, or video game systems and clothing items from the bowl organizers.
On Christmas night, the players of Virginia Tech were given the opportunity to take their $470 gift cards they received from the Russell Athletic Bowl and go on a Best Buy shopping spree.
Antone Exum—a junior cornerback for the Hokies—was searching for gifts for himself when he decided to take his shopping trip in an unusual direction.
When walking through the store with a shopping cart full of things for himself, Exum noticed three boys walking through the store looking at toys and playing with video game displays.
Exum had this to say to the Orlando Sentinel about his visit to the Orlando area Best Buy:
I had my cart with my stuff in it, and I saw them walking and I was already thinking about it, so I put my stuff back and I was looking for these kids. They were playing on the PS3. That's actually what the littlest one ended up getting. I think that's what he wanted for Christmas.
Antone Exum took his gift card and bought the three young boys everything they could purchase for the $470—including a PS3 and a Blackberry phone.
When the $470 was used up, the boys still needed a few games for the new gaming system. That’s when teammates Tariq Edwards and Marcus Davis stepped in.
Davis and Edwards donated the remaining balance of their gift cards to the kids to help purchase games.
What a great way to finish Christmas for the players and those three young boys.
Exum told the Orlando Sentinel that he was blessed on Christmas as a child, and he hoped that he could make this Christmas perfect for the three young boys.
Exum said, "I know it was a Christmas that I won't forget because I won't forget those smiles and the excitement on their faces when I told them they could get whatever they wanted in the store."
Those boys won’t forget Antone Exum or this Christmas either. There isn’t a doubt that the boys will love their gifts, but the care and heart that was shown will be the gift that lasts forever.