Jennifer Simpson had lost her last living grandfather and had been struggling to raise money for his funeral.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 22, 2022. It has since been updated.
J.J. Watt came to the rescue of a distressed NFL fan and teacher who was struggling to raise money for her grandfather's funeral. The Arizona Cardinals player offered to cover the expenses for the teacher. The adorable exchange has gone viral and reminded everyone that there's still plenty of goodness and hope out there. Jennifer Simpson, a teacher, had lost her grandfather, her last living grandparent, two weeks ago but didn't have enough money to hold a funeral for him. She tried to sell J.J. Watt merchandise, including a shoe and a T-shirt, hoping to raise money. The funeral home had informed her they couldn't hold onto the body any longer and the teacher was under immense pressure. "I have a pair of @JJWatt women's edition of Reebok shoes size 9 $60. I've worn them twice. They are great shoes, I'm only selling because we are raising money for my grandpa's funeral. I also have a Watt women's XL Texans Jersey for $30. Anyone interested?" she asked on Twitter, posting images of the shoes as well.
I have a pair of @JJWatt womens edition of Reebok shoes size 9 $60. I’ve worn them twice. They are great shoes, im only selling because we are raising money for my grandpas funeral. I also have a Watt womens XL Texans Jersey $30. Anyone interested? pic.twitter.com/USt90n221H— Jennifer Simpson (@JSimpson2014) July 21, 2022
She had tagged the Arizona Cardinals player, who was moved by the post and decided to intervene. "Don't sell your shoes and jersey, we'll help with the funeral. I'm sorry for your loss," tweeted J.J. Watt, also posting a folded hands emoji. Simpson, who had been struggling for two weeks to make the money, was overwhelmed with joy. "I freaking love you man. It's been a hard year for me, and this last month has been hard since the death. I wish I could tell you my story," she wrote.
People praised J.J. Watt for stepping up. "As a Houstonian/Texans fan, I wish I could say I'm surprised, but nope, this is JJ Watt. He's all class and one of the nicest/kindest men in the NFL. My condolences for your loss, may he Rest In Eternal Peace!!!" one user commented. "When we think we can't love you more, you step up, again and again, to make a difference in someone else's life...you are LOVED JJ!!" wrote one user. "This made me cry. Humanity and kindness can be so good and powerful in our saddest moments. You're a kind human, @jjwatt. Thanks for these heartfelt tears," added another.
Thank you for restoring our faith in humanity. No one should have to sell anything to pay for a funeral. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough.— Robyn Thorn 🇺🇦🌻 (@RobynRedPen) July 21, 2022
Simpson had been trying to raise money in all ways possible so she could give her grandfather an honorable send-off. She was selling baked goods and plates on a daily basis to raise money but still didn't have enough to cover the funeral home costs. The funeral home had informed her that they couldn't hold onto the body any longer. "I seriously wouldn't be asking for help on a daily basis if we didn't need it. We are going on 2 weeks since the loss, and the funeral home won't hold the body much longer. If you are in the Houston area, I will be doing a bake sale tomorrow," she wrote. "I don't know what else to do. It's been 2 weeks since my grandpa passed and we have yet to raise enough money for his funeral. I'm behind on grad school and will have to cancel my next work trip—which is fine. I'm out every day, selling baked goods and plates, but we need more," she wrote.
Dude. No offence, I'm Australian and have no idea who you are, but that's bloody amazing.— Matty (@Matty98491131) July 21, 2022
Just Googled you mid tweet and now have a new favourite NFL player.
You're good people.
Hit me up on one of these and help with funeral expenses please! Time is running out and we are behind on money. pic.twitter.com/4srw3dOh4o— Jennifer Simpson (@JSimpson2014) July 4, 2022
The J.J. merchandise was personal to her and she wished it didn't come to this, but she decided to put it up for sale. "Life is tough for some of us. You must not know what it's like to have to sell some of the most valuable things you own to make ends meet," she wrote in response to someone saying they would never sell it. Some pointed out that teachers were heavily underpaid and no teacher should ever not be able to afford a funeral. "America should be a country where a teacher can afford a funeral for their grandparent, but it isn't," wrote one person.