When 26-year-old Jennifer Simpson lost her grandfather, she was inundated with grief and mounting costs for the funeral. Just before she sold some of her most prized possessions to pay the bills, a superstar swooped in to save the day.
Texas-based teacher Jennifer Simpson suffered a painful tragedy when her 73-year-old grandfather, Jerry Roderick Sr., died.
Jennifer's aunt, Tara Roderick, explained that her father's death was unexpected. Tara said that Jerry was undergoing some bloodwork when he suddenly suffered cardiac arrest.
THE FAMILY'S FUNDRAISING EFFORTS
Jennifer and her family got busy trying to raise funds to pay for the funeral, but it proved an uphill battle, to say the least.
Jennifer tried multiple fundraising efforts. She canceled her work trip and baked and sold various pastries every day. She even fell behind on her grad school work.
Despite the family's endless efforts, they just couldn't get enough money to organize Jerry's funeral.
JENNIFER'S PLEA ON TWITTER
Two weeks after Jerry's passing, Jennifer thought of another way to try and gather more money for the funeral.
She took to Twitter and offered to sell some of her favorite items — a jersey and limited-edition branded sneakers from football superstar J.J. Watt.
As a football fan, Jennifer adored these items but was willing to part with them for a very low fee. "They are great shoes; I'm only selling [them] because we are raising money for my grandpa's funeral," her tweet partially read.
THE VIRAL MOMENT
The tweet got more than 250 replies, many of them from people who offered condolences and wished her well.
But one reply, in particular, was completely unexpected. Former Texans and current Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt replied to Jennifer's tweet. He wrote:
"Don't sell your shoes and jersey; we'll help with the funeral. I'm sorry for your loss."
JENNIFER'S AUNT'S SKEPTICISM
When Jennifer excitedly showed her aunt Tara the tweet, it took a little while to register.
Tara recalled, "Jennifer showed me the J.J.'s retweet, and I said 'What is that?' I didn't know what she was showing me. She said 'J.J. Watt said he's going to help pay for grandpa's funeral.'"
Tara also admitted that she was a little skeptical about the tweet until Jennifer showed her the screenshot of the money that J.J. had quickly sent via Paypal. She explained, "I almost died. He said he was sorry for our loss and gave his donation."
THE FAMILY'S FEELINGS ABOUT J.J WATT'S GENEROSITY
The whole family was incredibly grateful for the kindness that J.J. showed when he replied to Jennifer's tweet.
They explained that his donation lifted a burden off their shoulders and that they were able to cover the funeral costs.
Jennifer added that her family had tried everything, from bake sales to garage sales and a GoFundMe page to raise funds.
J.J.WATT'S PAST GENEROSITY
This was not the first time that J.J was unbelievably kind to people through donations. In 2017, J.J. raised over $37 million to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
Moreso, in 2021, J.J. donated money to help cover the funeral costs of Waukesha parade shooting victims in Wisconsin.
JENNIFER RESPONDS TO ACCUSATIONS OF BEING A SCAMMER
Not long after Jennifer's tweet went viral, some people accused her of being a scammer as she had apparently tried to sell the same football jersey years earlier.
In response, Jeniffer was candid about her family's financial situation. She wrote:
“If y'all really knew the behind-the-scenes of what my family has been dealing with, some of you might show more compassion.”
JENNIFER EXPLAINS HER FAMILY'S EFFORTS
Jennifer added that her family had tried everything, from bake sales to garage sales and a GoFundMe page, to raise funds.
She also revealed that at the rate she and her family were gathering money, it would have taken months before the funeral costs were paid for.
Reflecting on J.J.'s generous donation, Jennifer said that the gesture was a reminder that kindness existed in the world.
Jennifer's story is a reminder that we are never truly alone. When we least expect it, kind people can help lift us out of despair. Share this story with those around you to help spread some kindness.
If you loved this story, you'd enjoy this one about a widow who believed that a daily visitor was a gift from her late husband.
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