A man from Georgia saw how a little bit of kindness can go a long way when his simple gesture received a big reward — from Shaquille O’Neal.
On January 29, Martin went to Best Buy to buy to get a new laptop and he happened to see Shaq there. Just three days prior, the NBA star’s good friend and former teammate, Kobe Bryant, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Martin also knew that O’Neal had recently suffered another personal loss. So when he saw him at the store, he extended his sympathy.
“We gave our condolences for his sister and Kobe,” Martin wrote in a Facebook post about his encounter with Shaq, whose sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, died of cancer in October.
Martin’s kindness must have made an impact on Shaq, because he didn’t let Martin just leave after the brief interaction.
“We walked off, then Shaq comes to us and says, ‘I like y’all, so get the nicest one in here and I’ll pay for it,'” Martin wrote. The All-Star ended up paying for Martin’s brand-new laptop and posed for a photo with him.
Martin’s post about the kind gesture quickly went viral, receiving a whopping 23,000 shares — and counting.
Just a day before, Shaq had opened up about how difficult it was to deal with the losses of both his friend and sister.
“Well, as you know, the last couple months has been really tough. I lost my little sister. I haven’t been sleeping. I haven’t been doing the normal things I usually do,” he said during a pregame special on TNT. “I work, we laugh, we kid and we joke. When I get back home and look at reality and see she’s gone, it just hurts… And then I got the call,” he said of hearing the shocking news of Kobe Bryant’s death.
“And then we found out it was confirmed. I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while. [I’m] 47 years old. I lost two grandmothers. I lost a sarge, lost my sister, and now I lost a little brother,” Shaq said, referring to Kobe.
He also shared that Kobe had texted his son, Shareef, just before the fatal helicopter crash.
Shaq’s grief was apparent in his tearful speech and in the things he’s posted about Kobe on social media. “Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. We love our families,” he wrote in one of his many Instagram posts honoring his friend.
It made a difference that during one of the most emotionally difficult times of his life, a stranger offered a thoughtful word acknowledging his grief. Martin was impressed by the free laptop from Shaq — but Shaq was likely more impressed by Martin’s kindness.