FERGUSON, Mo. – On the eve of Easter Sunday, Mizzou Football star Luther Burden III surprised random grocery shoppers by picking up their bills on behalf of the Demetrious Johnson Foundation. 

Burden, a St. Louis native, spent time Saturday at the ALDI on West Florissant in Ferguson. He wanted to give back, as he knows what it feels like to be in need.

“It always has been a dream of mine to give back to my community, because I know what it feels like to start from the bottom,” said Burden. “It’s just a good feeling giving back, and I’m just super happy to be here.”

Demetrious Johnson passed unexpectedly last December. Burden III said it was Johnson who helped him understand the importance of giving back.  

“Shout out to Demetrious Johnson. Sorry he’s not with us today. Before his death he installed in me always give back to the community, always give back where you’re from,” he said. 

One of the shoppers he surprised was Victoria Smith, who had a full grocery cart full of food.  

Smith had no idea Burden III would be on hand to surprise her and other shoppers with the generous act.  

“This is huge burden lifted off us,” Smith said. 

Smith stopped in the grocery store after a Saturday service ahead of a big Easter celebration Sunday.  

“It’s resurrection Sunday. We’re grateful, we’re appreciative, and my household does worship. And we will be in worship tomorrow, and we get to come home and eat. I’m so excited!” Smith said.  

Burden III said it’s a blessing to give back and believes Johnson would approve. 

“Man, I know he would be super proud. Just me following his footsteps. He set a great example for me, not just me but the whole city of St. Louis,” he said.