Mohamed Sanu is a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons.
He has worked hard to make his way to the NFL. As a child, he split time between his borthplace of Sayreville, New Jersey and his parents’ homeland of Sierra Leone. Eventually, he earned a coveted spot at Rutgers University, and he enrolled in the university six months early.
While he was eventually drafted by the Bengals, Sanu was also a talented track & field star, and he spent countless hours honing his skills both on and off the field. That all paid off when he signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons—but success hasn’t exactly gone to his head.
Well, not according to the family that sat behind Sanu on a recent flight. Sanu told TMZ Sports how a mother tracked him down at the end of a recent flight, quickly handing him a touching letter.
“Hi! You don’t know us but we wanted to thank you,” the letter begins.
“Our son sat behind you on this flight and watched you. He saw you studying your plays, watched you make healthy choices with your snacks, food and drink [sic]. He watched how polite you were to everyone. He is only 10 but just made an elite hockey team and we are on our way to training in [Connecticut]. You are an inspiration to children and for that you should be proud!”
Thank you and best of luck! The family that sat behind you.”
Sanu publicized the letter, as he wants to tell the family what it meant for him to receive the kind message.
“It meant a lot, it was different,” he told TMZ. “I’ve never had anyone write me a handwritten letter in that manner.”
However, Sanu does note that he wasn’t doing anything special—at least, nothing that he saw as special.
“It was pretty cool, [but] I was just being myself, doing what I’ve known to do on planes, either I’m taking a nap or I’m looking at plays in my play book.”
He also described the moment that he read the letter, noting that he was “blown away.”
“Once we landed, I was walking towards baggage claim,” Sanu told TMZ, “when the mom tapped me on my shoulder, and she was like, ‘Read this, read this later.'”
Sanu thanked her, then opened the letter while he was walking away. He was humbled by what he read, so he turned to try to find the woman.
“I turned back to go talk to them, but when I turned back, they were gone.”
So, does he have a message for the family?
“I would just let them know that I appreciate those kind words, it definitely put a big smile on my face, definitely made me feel good. It’s not every day that someone just recognizes you for being you.”
“I’m glad I was able to be a positive influence for your son,” Sanu said. “I wish them the best of everything.”