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Mile High Morning: S Justin Simmons brightens Denver family's Christmas with generous tip


The Lead

Safety Justin Simmons has been an active force for positive change in the Denver community in his time with the Broncos, from inspiring Denver's youth through the Justin Simmons Foundation to joining the Broncos in various outreach events. On his 30th birthday, the three-time Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year finalist didn't take a break from lifting up others, and he instead went out of his way to brighten the holiday for a Denver-area server and her family.

In a feature in the Denver Post, columnist Sean Keeler detailed how an act of generosity from Simmons gave a Denver family a deeply appreciated Christmas miracle. In late November, Samantha Ramirez, a server at a Waffle House location in Parker known for her terrific singing voice, attended to several Broncos defenders after Simmons' 30th birthday. After the group paid the bill, Simmons stopped by the front and left a $1,000 tip, a gift that saved the Christmas season for Ramirez and her blended family of seven kids, she said.

"It meant a lot," Ramirez told the Denver Post. "It really did. … None of that was for me. All of it was for my kids. They were able to make Christmas happen for them. [Simmons] made Christmas happen for them."

Simmons' gift made a world of difference for Ramirez and her family. In the past year, Ramirez's father died of cancer and her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, while issues with the family's car forced Ramirez to rely on ridesharing apps to get to work.

With the holiday season looming and money tight, Ramirez was unsure how to made Christmas special for her family. In November, Ramirez posted on Facebook asking for a holiday miracle.

"When you're on the path to do things, some rocks get thrown in your path," Ramirez said. "So I kept on pushing. I was really stressed. I was talking to my hair lady, [telling her] I was really stressed out. It was one thing after another."

The tip from Simmons provided for gifts for Ramirez's children and close ones. Ramirez also succeeded in advocating for a change in her company's policy, which mandated a wait of up to two months for tip money to be processed. In addition to purchasing gifts for her own children, Ramirez covered the costs of candy canes and Secret Santa gifts at her work.

"I can't thank [Simmons] enough," Ramirez said. "… By him doing what he did at the time he did it and the amount he did, I was able to change a [corporate] policy. Not only did he help my family and friends, [he] helped others who don't have the resources. Something so small had a domino effect on people around the world."

Weeks afterward, Simmons deflected credit for his kind act and appreciated Ramirez's initiative in spreading the gift's positive impact.

"I'm happy for her and her family, but [the credit], that's not why I did it," Simmons said. "But I am happy that made her Christmas, and her family's Christmas. And I hope that's something where they'll be able to pay it forward and we'll just be able to make this whole (gift) just a positive thing."

The Unclassifieds

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