Steroid scandals, murder charges and accusations of autograph peddling. Now how about a good news story from the world of sports?
Four football players from William Paterson University went shopping at a general store in Wayne, N.J., on Sunday afternoon. After spending several minutes trying to locate the store clerk, two of the players who needed sunglasses and batteries were captured on store security cameras leaving money at the register.
Buddy’s Small Lots store manager, Marci Lederman, was taken by their honesty.
“They picked up a few items, and they left cash on the counter and waved to the cameras,” Lederman told Yahoo News. “Who does that?”
Thomas James, Kell’E Gallimore, Jelani Bruce and Anthony Biondi do that.
The NCAA Division-III Pioneers haven’t had a winning season in nearly 20 years, but life’s rewards are sometimes sweeter than those earned on a football field.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they did what they did,” said Jerry Flora, the Pioneers’ head coach. “That’s the kind of kids we try and recruit in here so we can obviously deal with a lot less headaches if you know what I mean.”
As it turns out, the players had unknowingly entered a closed store. Lederman said a lock on the front door had malfunctioned and a half-lit store made it look like Buddy’s was open. Police phoned her to say an alarm had been tripped, but she found nothing amiss.
“They could have ransacked the store. They could have really done anything,” Lederman said. “They were perfect gentlemen. They were looking to see if anyone was here. They looked in the back to make sure no one was lying on the floor dead.”
Lederman was so impressed that she called a local TV station to share the surveillance video, which helped her identify the four young men. On Tuesday, she rewarded each of them with $50 shopping sprees.
“They were just very thankful and grateful,” she said. “They’re nice kids.”
A Heisman candidate might not emerge from Flora's small-school roster, but he has four on the squad who already earned preseason praise off the field.
“For me it’s the total product,” Flora said. “I’m looking for guys that will come in, be here for four years, learn, develop, graduate, become good alums, give back to the university, give back to the program and along the way hopefully have some fun and set a good example.”