Little old ladies covered their mouths in shock. That’s usually their reaction when they see Russell Westbrook do something magnificent and jaw-dropping on the basketball court. Today, it was because he was doing something awe-inspiring off it.
Westbrook slalomed through the meat and produce sections at an Oklahoma City Homeland grocery store on Thursday afternoon, where he helped the Quintana family pick up everything they needed and more for Christmas and the holiday season. While the crowd of Oklahomans who were going about their daily shopping lingered for moments to get a glimpse of Westbrook, snap a quick picture or give him a thumbs up, it was a up close and personal opportunity for the Quintana family to get to know Westbrook, and vice-a-versa.
In his community outreach efforts, Westbrook often explains that the more intimate the event, the more special it is. Events like today’s at homeland provide that precise opportunity: one-on-one time between the Thunder All-Star and a family in need.
“It makes it more comfortable, and it’s better for them,” Westbrook noted. “For me it’s a great thing because I get to know their names, know a little bit about them and what they like.
Priscilla Quintana is a mother of two young girls, and she’s finishing her degree at Emerson High School full-time while also raising her children and taking care of her mother, Rosa. Emerson specializes in alternative education programs, and Principal Jack Reed was the one who nominated Priscilla for the opportunity to shop at Homeland with the Thunder and Westbrook.
“It means the world to me actually,” Priscilla said.
“We went shopping! With Westbrook!” she squeaked.
“We’re proud of our students,” Reed said. “We’re proud of Priscilla and she’s very deserving of this opportunity.”
The Thunder point guard was in true “dad” mode. He took orders on items to go pick up. If something fell off the shelf he chirped, “don’t worry about it!” He even flashed his bright smile and helped calm down Dalalee, the tiny 18-month old tot who was a bit overwhelmed with all the noise and attention.
“She’s always shy with people. It was like she knew him,” Priscilla said of Dalalee and Westbrook. “It was a great experience.”
“That’s the whole process of coming grocery shopping,” Westbrook laughed. “That’s definitely fun for the kids to get a chance to get what they want, and the mother and her mom to get everything they need, especially around the holiday season.”
The family is planning to make tamales for Christmas at Priscilla’s sister’s house, and Westbrook had the pleasure of assisting in their goal of finding all the necessary ingredients. By the end of the afternoon, the grocery carts were packed with meat and vegetables, fruit and cereal and even a few snacks and sweets. With the kids, the only thing that was a bigger hit than the balloons and treats was Westbrook.
“He was cracking some jokes. The girls were getting along with him so well,” Priscilla said.
“With all the accomplishments that he’s made and the impact that he’s made on the Thunder and for Oklahoma City, it’s just great to know that he’s the one that came and was able to shop with my student,” said Principal Reed.