The Wildcats are starting to get some much deserved attention for something that happened off the court.
An email, detailing how members of the team gave one girl a special birthday, is sweeping the Internet.
Rebekah Sams chose to celebrate her birthday at P.F. Chang's restaurant in Lexington.
While waiting for a table, the UK basketball team walked in.
Rebekah says it was a thrill just to see them and eat in the same restaurant but then several members of the team, including Patrick Patterson, came over to sing "Happy Birthday" to her.
They also posed for several pictures.
Sams says the team then presented her with a special birthday cake.
Making it a very memorable birthday for a Lexington girl.
The story has since been posted on national tabloid websites, such as tmz.com.
The email, in its entirety, is below.
Yesterday (Mon.) was my youngest daughter Rebekah's 16th birthday, and
in keeping with family tradition she got to pick the restaurant for
her birthday dinner. She decided on P.F. Chang's at Fayette Mall, even
though she had never dined there prior to last night.
We arrived at about 6:50pm and were told there would be a 20-25 minute
wait. After we had been sitting in the foyer for about 10 minutes I
was looking out the front door and I told my wife " that guy walking
this way kind of looks like Patrick Patterson".
Sure enough, in through the door walk Patterson, Harrellson and Liggins.
Since I was literally standing by the door I shook each one's hand and
congratulated them on this past weekend's performance. We assumed that
this was just an instance of a few of the guys going out for dinner,
but within the next 8-10 minutes, in groups of 2-4 players/coaches,
the entire team showed up, Calipari included. The funniest group was
Cousins and Orton. They showed up together (they are some big boys!),
and DeMarcus -- with a huge grin on his face -- proceeded to do two "laps"
around the revolving door, trapping Orton inside. It made me fully
realize that they are still kids at heart, even though they're full
grown men from all outward appearances.
Again, I made it a point to shake hands and congratulate every single
one that came through the door (even the Assistants), because how many
opportunities does a CAT fan get to do this, right?
They apparently had reservations, because as each mini-group entered
the restaurant they proceeded directly into the dining area, where
they were met with applause from the patrons ( which I thought was cool too).
After they had all passed by we were talking about how neat this was,
and how Rebekah had made a wonderful choice of restaurants! We thought
that was pretty much the end of the excitement.
Our 20-minute wait turned into 50 minutes, but we were finally seated.
Lo and behold they put our party of 9 at a table right next to the
team, which we again thought was neat. Even though several patrons
walked up and took pictures, I insisted that we leave them alone to
enjoy their dinner...the way it should be IMHO.
As we noticed they were finishing up, my wife half-jokingly suggested
that my oldest daughter go over and tell them why we were there, and
would they mind wishing her sister a happy birthday. Well, she did,
and what happened next is the meat of the story.
Patterson, Harrellson, Hood and Stevenson walked over behind her (at
the head of the table), and Patrick leaned over her shoulder, gave her
a hug and asked her name and how old she was. After she told him he
straightened up, raised his arms and said to the entire dining room
"Hey, it's 'Bekah's 16th birthday, so why don't we all sing to her?".
Josh kicked it off, and those 4 players, our table, and the rest of
the patrons in the dining room sang Happy Birthday to her!
You can imagine the impact this had on her. She had an ear-to-ear grin
that might have been the widest I've ever seen on a person! They also
gave her a cake that someone had brought for them.
It was a store-bought cake that read "Congrats Cats, 2010 SEC Champs".
Josh said "we'll never eat this, why don't you take it". Then there
were a few more "thank you's" and handshakes, and they left the restaurant.
As you can imagine, all eyes were on our table, and we again thought
that was just the coolest thing that could happen, and that it was
definitely a memorable birthday.
About 5 minutes later we were still talking about what had just
transpired, when back through the front door walks Harrellson, with his
hand behind his back. He walked up to Rebekah and said "do you think
this would be a good birthday present" and brought his hand from
behind his back to present her with a basketball autographed by the
entire team, and personalized with the words "Happy Birthday Bekah, Big 16"!!
We were absolutely stunned!! I didn't know my jaw could drop that far,
and that grin on Rebekah's face that I was sure couldn't get any
bigger, well it doubled in size! I think it kind of blew away
everybody in the restaurant, and it certainly did us!
That's my story; thanks for the indulgence. But the point I want you
to leave with is this:
How good are these young men to do this? Heck, we were absolutely
tickled that they took the time to wish her a happy birthday and sing
to her, but when Josh brought that ball in and handed it to her it
transformed a great birthday dinner into an occasion she'll remember
for the rest of her life!
My sincere gratitude goes out to Coach Cal and all of the players for
this incredible gesture!!
This is Kentucky Basketball at its finest!