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Charlotte Checkers player helps woman with groceries, gets invited to Thanksgiving dinner

A good deed by a Charlotte Checkers player turned into a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 8:38 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:44 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A good deed for a woman on Thanksgiving Eve turned into a special Thanksgiving for a Charlotte Checkers player for the holiday.

Due to his schedule and family not being able to visit Charlotte for the holiday, Ryan Lohin, a hockey player for the Charlotte Checkers planned to have a solo holiday, or maybe grab dinner with some teammates.

“So for me, it was kind of Facetiming and planning on getting on a Zoom maybe with the family, but that was probably the closest I was going to get to a family feel,” said Lohin.

Things changed as he was waiting at his Uptown Charlotte hotel for a ride.

“I was really having a hard time getting all of my groceries out of my car, and he was sitting in the lobby and I guess he kind of saw me struggling trying to get everything on the cart, so he came out and asked if I needed some help,” said Vivian Bowman-Meeks, who drove to Charlotte from Atlanta to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family.

Lohin helped Bowman-Meeks unpack her car with groceries, and they started a conversation after.

“He told me he played for the Charlotte Checkers and he was waiting on his Uber driver, and the Uber driver came up,” Bowman-Meeks said. “So I thanked him and I told him well I tell you what, we’re eating at 1, so if you want to stop, just stop by and have Thanksgiving dinner with us.”

Lohin tells WBTV he showed up early and was excited to celebrate Thanksgiving with people.

“It was awesome, you can’t explain it,” he said. “I went from a complete stranger to now part of the extended family I guess.”

The hockey player shared pictures of him with the family at dinner and mentioned the encounter that led to the special invite, not knowing it would spread fast on social media.

“I was just kind of stunned, then I had a little quiet time where I shed a few tears because it was heart touching, heartwarming,” said Vivian Bowman-Meeks, about the good deeds by Lohin.

“You want to help and you hope others would help your family members or friends, I guess just the right place at the right time to lend a hand, and it wasn’t much of my time to make someone’s day a little bit easier and that’s what I was kind of thinking at the time,” said Lohin.

Although the tweet spread quickly on social media, for Vivian Bowman-Meeks, it didn’t matter that he was a hockey player.

“No matter what he plays or what sports he’s in, I can tell he just had a good heart.”

Bowman-Meeks and her family say Lohin is now a part of the extended family, so they hope to meet again.

“We’ll have to see where everybody is at the next few holidays and hopefully get back together,” said Lohin.

It was a simple act of kindness by a stranger that changed the course of thanksgiving for both.

“This is kind of what Thanksgiving is all about, it’s being thankful and spending time with people you care about, and until yesterday, we were complete strangers,” Lohin said. “But now I feel part of the family and welcomed, and I think that’s truly special about the holidays.”

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