Buffalo running back
After Jackson’s 2011 season ended prematurely with a fractured fibula, the running back had some extra down time when he normally doesn’t have it. With the real estate landscape clearly a buyer’s market Jackson decided he was going to buy his mother a new home not far from her current residence in Texas.
“It was seventh grade when I told my mom, I said, ‘When I play in the NFL I’m going to buy you a house,’” recalled Jackson. “She didn’t really have emotional ties to the house she was in, but where they were it was easier for them to be in this house and get my sisters to and from school. So I had to find the perfect house.”
Jackson got right to work two weeks after he was placed on injured reserve. In a span of 14 days he and his wife Danielle had looked at 50 prospective homes in Texas not far from his parents’ residence at the time. After an exhaustive search Jackson found what he was looking for.
“It was the second to last house that we looked at and I said, ‘This is it. This is the perfect house,’” Jackson recalled. “So we got it and my mother in law and my wife Danielle did everything as far as interior decorating to get it ready. I painted two walls. That was about it.”
“My mom and I had that house done down to the toothbrushes,” said Danielle Jackson.
Not long after decorating the home from top to bottom it was time to surprise his mother and father. With the new home being in close proximity to his parents’ old home they had to conduct covert operations.
“He told me, ‘We’re just here on some business,’” said Fred’s mom Latricia of their visit to Texas. “But they never told me what kind of business. So I didn’t ask any questions. I’m not nosy. Later we were all hanging out together and I asked him where the kids were. He said, ‘Oh they’re on a play date with some friends of mine who live in the area.’ So I didn’t ask anything else.
“Later in the day when his sisters got out of school he told me he and the girls were going to hang out and do some things. And they do that whenever Fred and Danielle come visit so again I didn’t think much of it. In the evening he calls me and tells me he’s going to pick up his kids at his friend’s house and asks me to come over because his friend wants to meet me. So I get directions and drive over with my husband.”
Fred, his wife, mother in law and his three kids along with his twin brother Patrick and his family were all at the so called ‘friend’s house’ that would soon be revealed as the new home for his mom and dad.
Jackson’s intention was to string his mother along for as long as he could before surprising her. However, there was a problem with that plan shortly after Latricia Jackson, her husband and three daughters walked in the home.
“When I went in the house and walked in the door the first thing I saw was a picture of my grandkids on the wall,” said Fred’s mother. “So I was a little irritated by it. And I asked him, ‘Why would somebody else put a picture of someone else’s grandkids on their wall?’”
Sensing his mother’s mood changing, Jackson decided to let her in on the surprise.
“I’m looking to Fred for some answers and he says, ‘Surprise! This is your house!’ I said, ‘What?!’ You could’ve knocked me over with a feather,” said Latricia Jackson. “I said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were buying me a house Fredrick?”
“It worked out really well,” said Jackson. “I got a good video of her. The sound wasn’t that great, but there were screams from everybody when they found out it was their house. It was a lot of fun.”
Screaming might be an understatement as Fred’s mother had a difficult time composing herself after finding out the home she was standing in was hers, and that it was paid off.
“I was hysterical for about 30 minutes,” she said. “They were trying to take me to every room in the house and I just couldn’t stop jumping up and down so they just kind of dragged me around. It was chaotic for a long time. It took me hours to kind of calm down. When I calmed down and reality set in I still said, ‘This has got to be a dream.’”
Jackson’s three younger sisters, Krystal, Tryna and Maria, who all still live with his parents, all ran upstairs to see their bedrooms.
“They each had their own rooms and own bathrooms,” said Jackson. “That’s the first time they’ve had that so they enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun especially once we got in there. They were so excited I thought I was going deaf because they were all screaming so loud.”
Jackson’s mother and father were literally dancing in the driveway and broke into song at one point.
“I was jumping up and down and we were singing that song from the Jefferson’s, ‘We’re movin’ on up.’ Oh my gosh we were just hysterical,” said Latricia Jackson.
“It was a little nuts,” said Jackson. “We had a hard time calming them all down, but we knew they enjoyed it.”
Jackson told his parents not to bring anything from the old home except their clothes because it was fully furnished.
“They had towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cooking utensils,” said Mrs. Jackson. “They even had our brand of soap and tissues. It was like it already was my house. All I needed was the key. Washer, dryer was there, the detergent that we like. Everything was there. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”
Fred’s mother was in such disbelief that she refused to go to bed in the home that night.
“Danielle’s mother was there and she said, ‘Mrs. Jackson, you know you can go to sleep, it’s late,’” said Latricia Jackson. “And I told her, ‘I don’t want to go to sleep just in case this is a dream, I don’t want to wake up.’ I stayed up all night and Danielle’s mom stayed up with me.”
The most important part of Jackson’s gift to his mom was how much it alleviates the stress she carried with her on a day-to-day basis.
“I can’t even tell you how much different my life is now than it was a year ago,” said Mrs. Jackson. “It’s not even night and day. It’s more extreme than that. The whole lifestyle. I’m not stressed about anything. I used to be stressed all the time about paying this and paying that. It’s really different.”
“It allows a woman that has worked very hard to work a little less,” said Jackson. “The first thing she said was how I released a tremendous burden off of her back. It was a lot of fun.”
Now living in the home about four months, Mrs. Jackson still pinches herself to make sure the world she’s living in is reality.
“Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I still can’t believe it,” she said. “I’m counting down the days it seems, but I’m still here. I can’t believe it, it’s unreal. Every day we thank God for our blessings. It’s a blessing and we treat it as that. It’s a wonderful gift. I can’t believe that he did that.
“I asked him, I said, ‘Fredrick, why would you buy me a house?’ And he said, ‘Be quiet old lady.’ You always tell me, ‘Don’t buy this, don’t buy that.’”
Few gestures are as big as giving someone a home, and one would think that the four bedroom, four bathroom residence with a three car garage and gigantic backyard that he gave his mom in late January would cover him for Mother’s Day. However, that’s not the case.
“He’s not off the hook for Mother’s Day,” she said. “I want him to put my grandkids on a plane and send them to me. That would be the best Mother’s day present. Just send them to me for a couple of days.”
Jackson’s parents now certainly have the room now to host them.