BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Teammates tease James Cook about his glum demeanor. Bills backers noted it from the moment he got drafted.
Engaging with fans and handing out happy-faced cookies for a cause, Cook on Tuesday found himself grinning throughout most of his hourlong promotional appearance at Tim Horton’s on Niagara Street.
“You saw me smiling,” Cook said after signing autographs, posing for pictures and greeting patrons at the front counter and drive-thru window while distributing the coffee shop’s Smile Cookies to benefit Erie County Medical Center and Catholic Health charities. “I’m kind of coming out of my shell a little bit.”
“It’s fun to interact with the people here,” said Cook, whose expressionless reaction to being drafted a year ago by Buffalo raised eyebrows. “It’s a great city, great people, loving and caring.”
Cook promoted his Tim Horton’s appearance in an Instagram post. Some Bills players commented on the photos.
“Aye yo I’m tired of this no smilin,” wrote Bills receiver Gabe Davis, and the team’s account commented with three toothy smile emojis.
Cook was similarly roasted for not smiling in a promotional post during his rookie season.
“That’s just me,” said Cook, with a shrug and smile. “Sometimes I just don’t smile. I don’t know why.”
Robin Davis-Frey, vice president of operations for Kelton Enterprises, owner of the Tim Horton’s store Cook visited, offered her theory.
“I think the Smile Cookies helped him smile,” she said.
There were many smiling faces among the few dozen fans who purchased several dozen cookies while getting some face time with Cook.
Kaitlyn Gaik, a fourth-grade teacher at Westminster Charter School, brought along a student’s drawings for Cook to sign. She also recorded a video with Cook wishing her class good luck on Wednesday’s state tests.
“I think there is going to be tears of joy when they see this video,” Gaik said. “My students absolutely love football. We talk about it every morning.”
Tim Horton’s Smile Cookies will be sold through May 7 at participating locations around Western New York. More than 600 charities and community groups across North America will receive donations. Last year’s campaign raised more than 15 million, according to Tim Hortons.
Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.