When This NFL Player Asked To See The Team Janitor, He Gave Him The Surprise Of A Lifetime

For sports fans around the world, it’s sometimes easy to forget that their favorite teams employ a number of unheralded workers behind the scenes. Alfonso Garcia is one of those individuals. Garcia works as a day porter for the Los Angeles Rams, and he received the surprise of his life when he unexpectedly encountered wide receiver Brandin Cooks in January 2019.

Born in September 1993, Cooks grew up in Stockton, California, with his parents Andrea and Worth Cooks, Sr. During his younger years, the future NFL star played football at Lincoln High School – featuring for the Lincoln Trojans. And the fledgling wide receiver racked up some impressive statistics too.

In fact, Cooks scored seven touchdowns for the Trojans during his sophomore year while also making close to 30 receptions for precisely 600 yards. Those numbers improved 12 months later, too, with the wide receiver recording ten touchdowns. And on top of his success in making it to the end zone, Cooks made just under 50 receptions for over 780 yards that season.

But while Cooks’ statistics as a junior were excellent, his numbers as a senior were even better. Yes, the California native scored 11 touchdowns that year and chalked up close to 70 receptions for over 1,000 yards. And following his memorable spell with the Trojans, Cooks needed to make a significant decision.

You see, Cooks had to decide where he would continue his development in football, and initially he looked to join UCLA as a college student. At that point, though, the wide receiver changed his mind, opting to enroll at Oregon State University instead. And that turned out to be a great decision as Cooks went on to enjoy a fantastic spell at the college.

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During Cooks’ freshman year for the Oregon State Beavers, he scored three touchdowns in 12 appearances and made over 30 receptions for just under 400 yards. And much as he had done in high school, the future NFL player then improved his statistics the following season – thereby cementing his promising reputation along the way.

You see, Cooks formed a lethal partnership with fellow receiver Markus Wheaton that year, and the duo recorded some of the best numbers in the college’s history – racking up close to 20 touchdowns between them. And they also made just under 160 receptions for nearly 2,400 yards. The California native’s rise didn’t end there, though.

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No, Cooks even managed to surpass his impressive sophomore numbers in his junior year. During that season, the wide receiver scored over 15 touchdowns for the Beavers as well as making close to 130 receptions for more than 1,500 yards. And as a result of his performances, Cooks earned a prestigious prize at the end of the year.

That’s right: Cooks took home the 2013 Fred Biletnikoff Award – which is given to college football’s best receiver of the season. It was a big moment for Oregon State, too, as it was only the second time that one of their players had won the award; the university’s only previous winner of the prize was Mike Haas in 2005.

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And off the back of all that success, Cooks then made another big decision about his future. Yes, instead of playing for the Beavers as a senior, the California native entered the 2014 NFL Draft. But his decision proved to be a good one, as the New Orleans Saints selected him in the first round. Cooks was ready to take the next step in his football career, then.

Cooks enjoyed a solid debut season with the Saints, too, featuring in ten of their NFL games. That year, he scored three touchdowns and made over 50 receptions for more than 500 yards. Unfortunately, though, the wide receiver’s campaign was halted by injury, with his last appearance coming in November against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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But Cooks returned the following season, and he was looking to build on his promising numbers for the Saints. He subsequently played in 16 games that year and ran in nine touchdowns. In addition, the Californian made over 80 receptions for more than 1,100 yards. And not one of his Saints teammates could match those numbers during the 2015 season.

What’s more, Cooks continued to make an impact for the Saints during the 2016 season. The wide receiver featured in 16 games that year – scoring eight touchdowns, while also making just under 80 receptions for over 1,100 yards. And as a result of Cooks’ impressive displays, rival teams then started to show an interest in the NFL star – which led to another life-changing moment.

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You see, Cooks subsequently joined the New England Patriots in 2017 – making his first appearance for his new team in their opening game with the Kansas City Chiefs. Over the course of the regular season, Cooks scored seven touchdowns in 16 appearances and made 65 receptions for just over 1,000 yards. And the Californian then reached another landmark in his career.

Indeed, Cooks reached his very first Super Bowl with the Patriots in February 2018. The big game took place at Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where New England faced the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately for Cooks, though, his night didn’t quite go according to plan.

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During the game’s second quarter, you see, Cooks was on the receiving end of a big hit that left him with concussion. And as a result of the collision, the wide receiver was taken off the field. In fact, the injury meant that Cooks missed the rest of the Super Bowl, and the Eagles eventually came out on top with a 41-33 victory.

That proved to be Cooks’ final game for the Patriots, too, as he then joined the Los Angeles Rams in April 2018. And despite the disappointment of the Super Bowl defeat, the wide receiver went on to enjoy an excellent season back in California. Cooks’ debut for the Rams certainly set the tone, in fact, as he helped the Rams to an impressive 33-13 win over the Oakland Raiders.

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By the end of the regular season, then, Cooks had scored five touchdowns in 16 games and made 80 receptions for a little over 1,200 yards. It was a fantastic effort by the California native as he continued to show his quality on the field. But Cooks’ campaign with the Rams was about to get better still.

You see, the Rams had finished the season at the top of the NFC’s Western Division standings – boasting 13 wins and just three defeats. Cooks and his team, therefore, entered the playoffs. And such was the Rams’ regular season performance that they had earned themselves a first round bye.

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The Rams opening playoff game, then, came against the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional playoffs. Los Angeles won that clash 30-22, thereby qualifying for the NFC Championship game; and the Rams’ opponents for that game were Cooks’ first NFL team, the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints would be a tough nut to crack, though. In fact, the team from New Orleans were the only outfit in the whole of the NFL with a better regular season record than the Rams. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the NFC Championship game spilled into overtime before the Rams finally saw off their opponents 26-23. And this meant that the organization from L.A. were going to Super Bowl LIII – thus giving Cooks the chance to avenge the personal heartbreak that he had suffered the previous year.

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Prior to the Rams’ date with destiny, though, the team looked to surprise one of the people working behind the scenes. Alfonso Garcia plies his trade as a day porter at L.A. Memorial Coliseum – the Ram’s home stadium. And in January 2019 Garcia was summoned to one of the organization’s offices – but he was completely unaware of what would happen next.

Indeed, as Garcia entered the room, he was greeted by Cooks and a cameraman, and he looked a bit sheepish at first. The wide receiver quickly put the janitor’s mind at ease, though, as he explained what was going on. And within a few moments, the porter was left completely shocked by the situation.

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“Alfonso, how you doing, man?” Cooks asks Garcia when the team custodian walks into the office. “Don’t be scared, man; you’re alright!” And at that point, the wide receiver unveils the surprise. “On behalf of the team and the organization, we would love to invite you and your son, Josh, on a round trip to [the] Super Bowl,” Cooks says.

And from there, Cooks shares some kind words with Garcia about the job he does at the stadium. “You mean so much to us,” the Rams star continues. “You know that. You’re special [because of] what you do around here. Everything that you do does not go unnoticed, so we thank you for that.”

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“We would love for you to join us [at the Super Bowl],” Cooks adds. “Support [us] and scream loud, because we’re going to need you out there. So there’s two tickets to the Bowl.” The gesture is clearly warmly received, but the surprising turn of events has obviously left Garcia stunned, and he becomes overwhelmed with emotion.

“Oh my God, this is a dream come true, man!” Garcia tells Cooks. “Ever since I was a little boy – oh my God – [I thought that] maybe one day I’ll get to go to the Super Bowl. And I’ll get to take my son because of you guys. Oh my God. I don’t know what to say!”

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And Garcia continues to show his appreciation to Cooks and the Rams, too, as he holds the Super Bowl tickets in his hands. “Oh my God. I don’t know what to tell you guys. Thank you, everybody,” the porter continues. “This is amazing. I can’t believe this! Is this real?”

At that point, then, Cooks suggests that Garcia’s son, Josh, also has a surprise to look forward to. But the janitor remains in disbelief. “I can’t even [take] this in, I can’t,” he admits. “Oh my God. I’m so honored, you guys. I mean, [it’s] a blessing to be around you guys, for one.”

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“And to have [Super Bowl tickets] and be with you guys?” Garcia adds. “It’s something so special. Wow! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you and everybody. Thank you. I love you guys!” The video then comes to an end with Cooks patting the grateful porter on the shoulder.

Subsequently, the Rams shared that heartwarming clip via their official Twitter account in January 2019. And the post drew a big response from online users. Yes, the video garnered over 1,800 retweets and more than 8,000 likes as well as generating close to 300 comments on the social media website.

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Meanwhile, Garcia explained why he was so uneasy before receiving his big surprise. “One of the guys that works here, he said the general manager, Les, wanted to speak to me,” the janitor recalled to CBS News in January 2019. “And, well, it made me a little nervous because that’s not an office you really want to get called into.”

But the meeting brought Garcia happy news, of course, and he was clearly delighted with his treat. What’s more, Garcia’s son, Josh, couldn’t wait to get to Atlanta, Georgia, to see the big game either. “I’m really excited to go to the Super Bowl,” the youngster told CBS News. “Because I’ve been wanting to go to the Super Bowl since I started watching the NFL.”

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Garcia and Josh were being treated to more than just match tickets, too. Yes, the duo were also treated to a hotel stay in Atlanta ahead of the Rams’ clash with the New England Patriots. And the part that Cooks played in surprising the porter certainly didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates, either. L.A.’s Robert Woods, for instance, shared some kind words about his fellow wide receiver.

In fact, Woods noted that Cooks’ actions with Garcia were representative of his overall conduct as a Rams player. “I walked by and just happened to see that encounter,” Woods told USA Today in January 2019. “That’s the type of teammate [and leader] he is.”

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Meanwhile, Cooks lifted the lid on why he wanted Garcia and Josh to go to the Super Bowl. And the NFL star reiterated the message that he had expressed in the original video. “Oh, man, Alfonso – the guy is special, man,” Cooks told USA Today. “He keeps our locker room in tip-top shape.”

“[Garcia] has such a special soul,” Cooks continued. “[He’s] someone that I found myself drawn to once I got there. I see him around the facility all the time. I just felt like it would be special for him to see that he is a part of this success as well.”

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“I wanted [Garcia] to be able to be at the Super Bowl with his son to enjoy that [success],” Cooks added. And when the big day finally rolled around in February 2019, the wide receiver came up against some very familiar faces. You see, just 12 months on from their defeat to the Eagles, one of Cooks’ former teams, the Patriots, were back.

And while the Rams hadn’t made the Super Bowl since 2002, this was the Patriots’ sixth appearance in the NFL finale in the past 11 years. What’s more, New England had won on two of their previous three outings in the showpiece game. But with Garcia and Josh cheering them on, Cooks and his teammates lined up at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta hoping to make history. You see, a Rams victory would secure the franchise its first title since it moved back to L.A.

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Unfortunately for the Rams, though, they couldn’t get over the finish line in the end. And while Cooks made eight receptions for over 100 yards in the game, he lost his second successive Super Bowl. That’s right: the Patriots secured yet another title with a 13-3 win – the lowest scoring Super Bowl clash in history. But although the Rams lost, just being in the stadium to soak up the atmosphere was a dream come true for Garcia and Josh.

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