Former NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal made a heartfelt gesture on Saturday by covering the costs of a funeral for an 11-year-old child who died in a car accident a couple weeks ago near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Retired chief deputy officer from the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office, Phil Conrad, told TMZ sports that O’Neal paid a “few thousand” to the family once he learned they were low on funds and couldn’t afford the funeral.
The crash occurred when an adult ran a stop sign while driving with four minors. The vehicle reportedly went into a ditch and then hit a tree leaving 12-year old Trayvon Alexander and 11-year-old Keshon Batiste dead. Conrad later said that Alexander’s funeral was covered by insurance but Batiste’s wasn’t.
O’Neal, who attended Louisiana State University, learned about the situation from local news’ outlets and asked his good friend Conrad for more details. “(Shaq) called me and asked me to reach out to the family on his behalf, and get back with him.” Conrad told Virginia news outlet WAVY-TV. “When I called him back and told him that the family had raised over $3,000 in a GoFundMe, but was still short of what they needed, he immediately stopped what he was doing and sent the money to me, and I wrote out a check.”
Conrad later mentioned that Shaq intended to pay for the expenses of both families, before he found out the Alexander’s were covered.
“He’s a big man, and his heart is even bigger,” Conrad added. “He would truly give you the shirt off his back; you probably can’t fit it, but he would give it too you anyway. I’ve seen a few of his incredible gestures and will admit a time I was brought to tears.”
Conrad recalled a recent experience at Best Buy in Acadiana, Lousiana, when Shaq bought a family of seven new TVs. “A woman and her son were standing in line to pay for an X-box that the kid had been saving his money for and Shaq struck up a conversation with the mother. He learned that her family of seven all shared a small home, with one small television.”
Conrad said Shaq paid for three TVs, one for every bedroom, and bought the kid every Xbox game in the store. “That’s just him, he knows what it’s like to window shop and so he wants to make some dreams come true.”
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