Over the years, Mohamed Samu has racked up a lot of highlights in his NFL career.
But what he may be remembered for just as much as his catches as a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers is something that happened a few thousand feet in the air.
The time was April 2017. The NFL was attracting attention as a hotbed of divisive national anthem protests sparked by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and many fans were turning away from the league.
Mohamed Sanu, then with the Falcons, caught the attention of a family as he took a commercial flight.
He tweeted about the episode, noting that as the passengers were disembarking, a woman handed him a note with orders to read it later.
Yeah the mom handed it me and said read it later and walks away lol https://t.co/R7fbOqv138
— Mohamed Sanu Sr. (@Mo_12_Sanu) April 23, 2017
He did, and so did the whole world once he shared it on Twitter.
“Hi! You don’t know us but we wanted to thank you. Our son sat behind you on this flight and watched you,” the note began.
The note revealed that everything Sanu did was recorded by a very interested child.
“He saw you studying your plays, watched you make healthy choices with your snacks, food and drink. He watched how polite you were to everyone,” the note said.
This definitely put a smile on my face. ☺️ the little things. pic.twitter.com/OFKpwcho5H
— Mohamed Sanu Sr. (@Mo_12_Sanu) April 22, 2017
The note told Sanu nothing more about the family than that the boy who watched him was 10 and that they were heading to Connecticut because the boy had made an elite hockey team.
“You are an inspiration to children and for that you should be proud! Thank you and best of luck!” the note said.
It was signed, “The family that sat behind you :).”
— Mohamed Sanu Sr. (@Mo_12_Sanu) August 14, 2018
The former Rutgers star has continued to be a role model and give back to his community.
He is currently involved with a project dubbed “Sanu’s Crew” that benefits the Embrace Kids Foundation, which supports the families of children with cancer and blood disorders.
Sanu also supports the children in local autism centers around Atlanta, New Jersey and New York City.