Character is often described as the actions a man or woman takes when no one is looking. The Bengals get their share of publicity about bad behavior, so I wanted to pass along this story about Rey Maualuga's caring heart.
Vickie Nesmith of Boone County was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. Since then, the cancer has turned up in other parts of her body, but she keeps beating it. Now she needs a very expensive procedure, which her insurance won't cover. Her friends put together a benefit recently to help her family with the mounting medical bills.
One of those friends asked Rey Maualuga to sign a couple of footballs for the silent auction, and was nothing short of shocked when Rey asked, "Can I come?"
Rey did come to the benefit in Northern Kentucky, and the first thing he wanted to do was meet Vickie. Let me set the scene for you. Several hundred people were inside the Florentine Center in Florence, and Vickie was trying to her best to spend time with each one of them. Like a hostess at a reception, she hadn't found time to eat a single bite of food, and she was tired down to her very core. When her daughter asked Vickie to come with her, she was just sitting down for the first time that evening, and Vickie asked Nicole if she could hold on for a few minutes. Nicole said, "No, Mom, you really need to come with me."
Vickie couldn't believe her eyes when she realized the reason for the interruption was Maualuga. She says, "He had his hair pulled back, and he was so handsome!"
Rey was with two buddies, and after posing for a few photos with Vickie and her children, the Bengals star wanted to fade into background. He said to the crowd of fans who had gathered around him, "this is Vickie's night."
Vickie describes her newfound friend as quiet and reserved. After spending some time at a corner table, number 58 gave Vickie an autographed football and told her it was time to go. She thanked him again and again and told him she's a crazy Bengals fan, who tells her family they have to be quiet and leave her alone when she's watching their games on TV.
Rey made her special night even better by offering tickets to Vickie and her husband, but Vickie was most moved by Maualuga's kindness. He didn't come to her benefit for the show of being there. Instead, Vickie felt the support of a man whose shoulders are very, very broad.