MIKE Harris said it is his childhood that is prompting him to help people just like what he did when he recently treated less-fortunate kids to a meal at a popular fastfood chain.
A recent viral video saw Harris buying food to a bunch of kids at a fastfood restaurant near the Cuneta Astrodome where the Alaska import was fresh from playing Game Three of the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Thursday.
Harris said he is motivated to give back as the former NBA D-League Most Valuable Player also came from a poor background where he had to work countless hours just to earn money for the family.
“I came from a small family in a small town,” Harris said. “We didn’t have much. I had to work non-stop to get everything. My family taught me, my mother, my grandmother raised me. They taught me hardwork."
"I picked up cans, collecting cans for a living. I mowed grass. I did whatever I could to earn money so that they didn’t have to give anything. I know the real value of hardwork.”
Harris said the opportunity opened up to help less fortunate kids when he first treated them to a snack at the Cuneta Astrodome during a quarterfinal match against San Miguel.
“I gave them some water and I saw how they all tried to grab it and run. So when I got into the car, I decided to go back and there was a little stand so I gave them snacks,” said Harris.
When he learned that Alaska was playing another game at the Cuneta Astrodome, Harris planned to see the kids once again to treat them to a meal, instead of giving them money.
“From where I came from, I don’t believe in giving people money. I believe in giving something that they can really value,” Harris said.
“When I found out we were coming back for another game here, I want to do something different and I ended up seeing Jollibee on the corner. I heard that’s like one of the favorite places here. So I decided to take them there, give them something to eat,” said Harris.
“I just saw the opportunity to do something and it just so happened that we kept playing here. Luckily, we kept on winning. It’s a bonus that I’m helping out,” he added.
The 35-year-old Harris made it clear it was not his intention that his noble act to be seen in public. In fact, he has been doing similar deeds back home, but in private. In fact, Harris admitted he was afraid that the video of him feeding a few kids would go viral.
“I like it and me and my wife do similar stuff back at home but it’s not something to post or talk about because that’s not my intent. It just so happened that people were there, and they started recording and posting it. I don’t do it for that intention. That’s not my focus at all,” Harris said.
“I’m a little bit afraid now because I don’t know how many is going to be out there. I only do it for the little kids. I don’t do it for the big kids. Big kids have their own thing. It was just for little kids. Couple of other people were asking. I was like you are too big. I only do it for the little kids because I know they can’t work right now.
“For them, it’s very beneficial. That’s why I did it. I’m a little afraid now that it went viral because there may be some kids not even in this area that may be out there, so I got to get a quote. I don’t know if Jollibee will have enough chicken or how many people will be out there. Who knows,” said Harris with a smile.
Despite his act getting public attention, Harris said he is nevertheless happy that the reception was received positively. Harris is happier though with priceless smiles he saw in the kids’ faces after feeding them.
“I don’t have Facebook. I’ve been trying to respond to everybody and it’s so hard. It’s good that I love their reaction but I just tell them thank you because once again, I’m not doing it for glorification.
“It’s something that fell on my heart literally. Once I gave them the Gatorade and the water, I got back in the car and I was like, you can do better than that. I decided to buy them a snack. I knew the snack wasn’t going to fill them up. The next time I decided to do something different and something beneficial.
“Feed them that meal and then when I was leaving for them to hug me, I saw the sincerity in their faces. I knew that’s way more efficient and that was something they were going to value,” said Harris.