The kids from Kansas City's inner-city football program were already in the kind of happy-go-lucky mood that comes with a modest holiday shopping spree when they lined up to take a picture.
Some were laughing. All of them were smiling.
Then their idol stepped out from his hiding place and the screaming started.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had taken time out of his day off Tuesday to show up at Dick's Sporting Goods and surprise the kids from KC United. He took photographs, signed autographs and presented the team's founder, local pastor Adrian Roberson, with $5,000 to fund next season.
"I have no words for it," said Roberson, who broke into tears.
Mahomes was appearing at Dick's event for Sports Matter, a program to help underfunded youth sports programs. Sports Matter has helped more than 1 million young athletes across the country, and Dick's has committed $50 million to giving back to youth sports.
Mahomes is arguably the hottest player in the NFL this season, his record-setting performance as a first-year starter helping the Chiefs to a 9-2 record. And not surprisingly, that has caused the demands on his time to skyrocket, from the unending interview requests to meet-and-greets and other events.
Somehow, the 23-year-old quarterback has managed to take everything in stride.
"I don't know if it does something for me. It's just part of being in this community," Mahomes said the following day, before stepping onto the practice field to prepare for Sunday's trip to Oakland.
"This community loves football and they love each other," Mahomes continued. "It's more than just football. It's being a good person and giving back to the community."
Mahomes has certainly ingrained himself in the community.
He threw out a first pitch at a Royals game over the summer. He was the grand marshal for the NASCAR race, wearing a cutoff jersey from the T-Bones, the local minor league baseball team. He pops up at stores, concerts and restaurants as if he was anybody else, even sitting front row at Sprint Center last week to watch his college, Texas Tech, play in the Hall of Fame Classic basketball tournament.
When he showed up at a Verizon store on Monday for a meet-and-greet, store officials were worried the crowd would be too large and asked that his appearance not be publicized. Several hundred people still found out, forming a line that snaked around the building as they awaited his arrival.
"I feel the excitement and I feel the love not only for me but for the Kansas City Chiefs," Mahomes said. "It's special. This is a special place. There's great people here. That's one of the main reasons I love playing for this team."