Westbrook Shops at Homeland with Oklahoma Family

The smallest gestures can bring a smile to a shy child’s face and a tear to a mother’s eye.

On Saturday afternoon Russell Westbrook was able to manage both of those things by spending time with the Byrd family at an Oklahoma City Homeland grocery store. By helping them shop for free groceries and ensuring that they’d have another free shopping trip for a later date, Westbrook made Rebecca Byrd, a mother of four, nearly come to tears. By being his playful self, he also helped Rebecca’s six-year-old daughter, Saffron, come out of her shell.

“It was fun, the kids were energetic, the mom was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to walk in the grocery store and grab all the goodies and candy that you want. I know as a child I was doing the same thing. It’s a great feeling to do that for somebody.”

The Byrd family was assembled and excited for the day as Rebecca and Saffron were joined by 12-year-old Veronica, nine-year-old Shawn and seven-year-old Atticus, staying strong despite Rebecca’s husband suddenly passing away at the age of 29.

Westbrook, who through his own foundation and other community events, always seems to have a pulse on the small moments in life that are so important to families, was fun and engaging throughout the afternoon. He laughed with the kids and tried to persuade them to try his favorite types of food from the aisles, then shared high-fives with the at-first timid Saffron until she opened up. By showing his personality and that he’s a regular human being just like them and who can understand their lives and pressures, Westbrook put the Byrd family at ease.

“He’s a regular dude,” Rebecca Byrd said. “He’s a real person. I was really nervous because he’s famous and he’s really famous to us because he’s here. He was just a regular person. He didn’t treat us like he was some famous person. He was just Russell.”

After picking up all of their necessary pantry staples, the Byrd family also had the chance to pick up a few extra items like a cake and stuffed animals. The shopping spree was extremely helpful for the family of five, who Rebecca is supporting as a Special Education assistant teacher at Quail Creek Elementary. Janice Matthews, who is also at Quail Creek Elementary, where three of the Byrd children attend school, said that it was an easy choice to nominate the Byrd family as one deserving of the Homeland spree.

“All of us thought of Ms. Byrd at the same time,” Matthews said. “We knew that she had been through a lot of struggles and was a full time mom, working full-time and trying to keep her family going in a normal way. She was the perfect one to nominate.”

Families like Rebecca Byrd’s are the type of hardworking, high-character people that fill Oklahoma and support the Thunder every day, whether at Chesapeake Energy Arena or elsewhere. That type of support and the embrace the Thunder has been given since the team moved here in Westbrook’s rookie season has not gone unnoticed. It is the reason why Westbrook his highest level of energy each night on the floor, and why he enjoys getting out into the Oklahoma City community to give back.

“It’s great, especially in this community,” Westbrook said. “The support they give us throughout a season, it’s important for myself and my teammates to come out and do things like this.”