Hoisting a variety of last-minute holiday gifts onto the Target conveyor belt, shoppers whispered back-and-forth with one another.
“Something’s going on here,” one woman said, suspiciously eyeing three tall checkers, a head above nearly everyone else in the store.
Wearing Seahawks apparel, the men were not the regular red-vested employees as expected. A few seconds later, it clicked. “Those are Seahawks players!” the woman exclaimed, whacking her companion on the arm while pulling out her cell phone to document the experience.
From a pink Barbie Dream House to an electric Razor scooter, shoppers handed over their holiday purchases to Cliff Avril – assisted by his bagging team of Jacob Martin and Poona Ford – to scan and purchase.
A flurry of hugs, handshakes, photos, and high-fives accompanied the best surprise of all. When it came time for the shoppers to pay for their items, Avril turned the credit card machine towards himself. With a huge smile pasted across his face, Avril declared, “don’t worry, I’ve got you today.”
The surprise was a part of Avril’s random acts of kindness during the holiday season. A holiday event him and his family look forward to every year, Avril says “a lot of people are going through difficult times and trying to make ends meet. I’m in a fortunate situation where I can help out, and I think it’s a pretty cool concept.”
Target shopper Dawn Gerken was taken aback by the experience, saying “I just came here before going home… It’s awesome that the Seahawks are doing this for us.”
Sporting a Seahawks Union Jack hat and Seahawks hoodie, Gerken couldn’t have been more surprised, stopping to take photos and having Martin and Ford signing holiday cards for her family.
Over at Fred Meyer, unsuspecting shoppers with carts full of items were delighted to see the trio of Avril, Martin, and Ford checking and bagging their items. Thrilled at the surprise, one woman even stretched across the stand to hug Avril, while another young child showed off his “touchdown dance” to Martin.
As young players on the team, this event was a first for Ford and Martin. “I’m thankful for the invite to come out and do this with Cliff,” Martin said. “It gives us something to aspire to later in our careers. Just an awesome experience.”
Amidst the smiles and handshakes, Ford echoed Martin’s sentiments: “It’s good for the heart, especially during the holiday time where some families don’t have much.”
Pausing to look around at the somewhat chaotic happiness unfolding around him in the middle of Fred Meyer, the rookie defensive tackle concludes, “It just feels great to give back and bless everybody.”
On Wednesday, December 19, 2018, Seahawks Legend Cliff Avril, along with current Seattle defensive linemen Jacob Martin and Poona Ford, surprised holiday shoppers at Target and Fred Meyer.