For a second straight holiday season, Bobby Wagner put on a santa hat and headed to Toys 'R' Us to surprise deserving kids from local community centers with an all-expenses paid shopping spree.
The Seahawks' middle linebacker was joined by teammates Cliff Avril, Brock Coyle, Mike Morgan, and K.J. Wright, as the players hosted 50 youth from South Park Community Center and Rotary Boys & Girls Club at the Bellevue-based store.
"They were super excited," Wagner said of the kids' reaction to the Seahawks' holiday surprise. "They got a chance to go around, pick all their favorite toys out. I just thought it'd be fun to take some kids that don't get an opportunity to go shopping, shopping. They were super excited."
The 26-year-old Wagner, who was voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl earlier this week, is an avid fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. He's often seen toting around a dark-green turtle-shell backpack, but much to his dismay, when he walked down the TMNT aisle at Toys 'R' Us on Wednesday night, he didn't see a single youth in sight.
"You know what was funny," Wagner recalled with a laugh. "I was very disappointed. I walked down the Ninja Turtle aisle, there was no kid in sight. I was really upset. I tried to persuade them to get a toy. I got one kid to get a toy, and I think he got it out of pity."
Humor aside, Wagner said life experiences over the years have taught him the importance of giving back to those who are less fortunate, particularly at this time of year. Wagner said if he ever found himself in a position to give back, like the one he is in now, he would commit himself to do so.
"You have your family, you have your people that you're getting gifts for, you get excited, and you forget that not everybody gets to experience those moments," Wagner said. "They don't get a chance to get gifts or anything like that. So you try to reach out and see those kids and you try to make somebody's holiday, you try to make somebody's Christmas because it's not just you on this planet.
"There's other people on this planet and not everybody is as fortunate, so you give back to the less fortunate. That's what I was taught."
One instance in particular from the mid-week event stood out above the rest to Wagner. It came when Wagner was introduced to a fan of his who has been battling a serious disease, a fan Wagner said he hopes to host on Christmas Eve when the Seahawks take on the Arizona Cardinals in the year's final regular-season game at CenturyLink Field.
"There was this one lady that I didn't know was coming," Wagner said. "She had some form of cancer and I didn't know that she wanted to meet me, so I walked up to her and said hello and she started crying. I was like, 'Wow.' It was a pretty dope moment because I just think I'm a regular guy, nothing great.
"To see her react like that, that made her whole day. It's things like that, moments like that that are why I do what I do."
For the second straight holiday season, Bobby Wagner played 'Secret Santa' on Wednesday, December 21, surprising 50 South Park Community Center & Rotary Boys and Girls Club youth with a shopping spree at Toys 'R' Us, where the Seahawks linebacker paid for all the kids' gifts.