Rockford boy receives surprise birthday present from Fred VanVleet


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Fred VanVleet has given out back-to-school supplies to kids in his hometown of Rockford and turkeys to families at Thanksgiving. Last week he partnered with a ‘Toys ‘R’ Us’ in Toronto for a Christmas shopping spree for kids. Monday night he showed his generosity again.

He gave a five-year old Rockford boy Zachariah Hanson the shoes right off his feet. It was right after the Raptors played the Bulls at the United Center in Chicago. Hanson and his father were seated near the court. VanVleet didn’t play Monday due to a bruised knee. That was disappointing for the Hansons, but the night turned out better than they could have imagined thanks to VanVleet’s act of kindness on Hanson’s birthday no less once the game ended.

“He took off his shoes and he gave them to me,” said Hanson. “He signed them.”

His father Donald Hanson explained in detail what happened. “We were seated baseline and my brother was at courtside and he (Zachariah) kept saying to me, ‘Daddy, when am I going to meet Fred?’ So I called my brother. I said, ‘We can’t leave here without letting him meet Fred. And he (the brother) came and got junior and he took him down (courtside) and held him up in the air with a sign that said, ‘Hey Fred, it’s my fifth birthday, hashtag 815, and Fred looked at him and said, ‘I’ve got you.’ After the game he (VanVleet) walked over to him (Zachariah), kicked his shoes off, signed them and gave them to him. A special guy!”

When Zachariah was asked if the shoes are the best birthday present he has ever received he nodded his head yes.

So what is he going to do with those shoes?

“I want to keep them forever,” said the boy.

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