WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil was Dana Warrior’s recent guest on the Total Warriors podcast. The WWE Superstar is well known for his philanthropic work & opened up about what drives him to pay it forward. O’Neil’s efforts began with a promise, “I just always made a promise to my grandmother when I was younger and a promise to God that if I had an opportunity to reverse the fortunes of my family, I would take advantage of it and that people who helped me along the way – if I could learn one thing from them – I would try to implement that throughout my life.” Then came the gift, “It’s always been key moments like the moment I received a remote control car at 12 years old. A woman gave it to me at the Boys & Girls Club down in South Florida. I will never forget that day. She said, ‘I bought this gift specifically for you because I wanted you to have a really nice gift.’” The gift was the only thing O’Neil received for Christmas that year, but the act of giving left an impression on the young man that would be instrumental throughout his life.
O’Neil learned an important lesson from the charitable act, “How to treat people with dignity regardless of what their situation is because a lot of times in our society we do a lot of transactional things and not a lot of transformational things & so every year we have gift drives and turkey drives and things like that, but my reality as a kid is much like the reality of many people around the world – not just America – but around the world. You may provide them with a turkey dinner on Christmas, but three days later they’re going back to being hungry again, or they may not have a house to cook that turkey in or they may not have a family, they may never have been taught how to cook. I always look a lot deeper than the situation because I’ve been in those situations far too often both as a receiver and a giver.” O’Neil believes true charity should always be accompanied with dignity, “The one thing I’ve always appreciated about truly generous people is that they do it with a lot of dignity. I know 4 billionaires that help me on a consistent basis and they never want anyone to know that they’re helping me. It’s the craziest thing in the world because I know people who have less that want to get their name on the banner and have shout outs on social media. They want everybody in the world to know….to me my life was changed by people who invested in me when they had nothing to gain in return.”
The solitary Christmas gift stoked a passion in O’Neil, “To me my passion and my purpose each and everyday that I’ve woken up ever since my thirteenth Birthday…has been to do that same thing. I will never be able to financially repay all those people that invested in the Boys & Girls Club and the Florida Sheriff’s Boys Ranch to not only help myself and my mother, but other kids. What I could do is wake up every single day – starting at home and putting smiles on the faces of my family, my kids, my mother. As long as I can make my mother proud, God proud, and my kids proud everybody else should be happy on top of that.”
O’Neil is more than just talk; he also walks the walk. He recently gave out more than 15,000 Christmas gifts to children at Raymond James Stadium. Nancy Reyna attended the event with her son and with money being tight this year, was in line before the sun came up. Reyna summed up O’Neil’s 2018 Joy Of Giving event with the following, “This has been a blessing, for the families in need it’s helped a lot. I’m very grateful.”
(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)
Readers can listen to Total Warriors in its entirety below:
Titus O’Neil On The Christmas Gift That Changed His Life