Fresh off a road win in Cleveland, this past Community Monday, Ravens players, cheerleaders and mascot Poe teamed up with Verizon Wireless and took to the streets of Baltimore to spread love through random acts of kindness. "Pass It Forward" was the focus of the day, as the Ravens hoped to create a ripple effect of good deeds, big or small, through a series of their own special actions, surprising fans at various Baltimore-area locations.
Ripple Effect – Noun: the continuing and spreading results of an event or action.
Dubbed "The Justin's" for the day, Justin Forsett and Justin Tucker started their morning off by distributing 50 gift cards ($25 each) to customers as they pulled up to the Royal Farms on Liberty Road in Eldersburg, Md. Jennie Semies of Sikesville, Md. was one of the lucky fans to receive a gift card and was greeted at the gas pump by the players. "I was at home yesterday watching the big win, and then to come out here this morning and see them and have my gas paid for was an awesome surprise," Semies explained.
The next stop for Verizon and "The Justin's" was the Fort McHenry Toll Plaza, where the team paid the $4 toll for nearly 250 drivers. Upon arrival, Forsett and Tucker were given a safety lesson from the Maryland Transportation Authority staff and met the toll plaza workers that they would be working alongside in the booths. The players then entered to the tolls, with Forsett going to the Southbound Lane #16 and Tucker stationed in the Northbound Lane #8, and surprised drivers by informing them that their toll had already been paid for and encouraged them to "Pass It Forward."
The rainy weather didn't stop the Ravens and Verizon Wireless from heading to their next stop, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Families were greeted by Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe and were surprised with prepaid entrance fees.
After each act of kindness was delivered in the morning, it was time for lunch. Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe stopped by Towson Hot Bagels and distributed 75 gift cards ($20 each) to help pay for lunches. Business people on their lunch breaks, and local college students, including members of the Towson University football team, were among those who were surprised and appreciative for the act of kindness. Many patrons could be overheard proclaiming, "What, free food?!"
After lunch, the Ravens and Verizon Wireless had two more stops, and what better way to wind down the day than to welcome newborn babies to the #RavensFlock? Ravens players Crockett Gillmore and John Urschel visited the nursey unit of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and delivered gifts to newborns and their families. The players stopped by each room to congratulate the new moms, and had the chance to hold a few of the babies who were born on that very day. They even handed out the team's children's book entitled "Poe's Road Trip to Ravens Gameday" to the new and very proud big brothers and big sisters.
Last and certainly not least, Gillmore and Urschel delivered 25 Papa John's pizzas to the first responders at Firehouse Station 2 of Ellicott City, Md. The players toured the station, spent time with the firefighters and their families and thanked them for their service and efforts during and after the Ellicott City flooding. This stop touched home for Gillmore, as his brother-in-law Tully Robinson is a firefighter back home in Texas. He enjoyed spending time with the children, who he said reminded him of his niece and nephew.
If even just one of these ripples went on to create a ripple effect of random acts of kindness, the Ravens and Verizon Wireless consider their "Pass It Forward" efforts a success. And like any ripple, their efforts won't stop here. Throughout the season, the two organizations will continue to team up to surprise fans with unannounced acts of kindness at various Baltimore-area locations. In the meantime, the Ravens encourage all members of the #RavensFlock to take care of one another and "Pass It Forward!"