Posted: 6:35 a.m.
Bengals.com has veered off the Chad Ochocinco's Soldiers for Giving tour and is at the site of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. But The ChadRide got new life Saturday when The Ocho asked his 10 Soldiers to re-up so they could extend The Tour past Sunday into Tuesday and stay in Miami for the Heat game Monday night.
According to Lisa Gilley, one of The Soldiers and new Bengals.com correspondent, all 10 of the fans have appeared to re-enlist for the bus after spending all day at Disney World on Saturday.
Gilley, the special needs assistant at a middle school in Beavercreek, Ohio, texted the details to her principal and got the go-ahead. It helped that she had already scheduled Monday off for a doctor's appointment.
"I just texted him, 'Chad is full of surprises and here is one of them,' " Gilley said. "Two extra days. And in Miami. Of course, I have no shorts, but we'll figure it out."
Saturday's visit to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission Children & Women's Center turned out to be the most popular stop with The Soldiers. They left Atlanta about an hour late, 3 a.m. Saturday, and ran into traffic problems that prevented them from serving breakfast.
"But we were able to interact with the kids more than we did at the hospital in Atlanta," Gilley said. "It was very emotional. We got a tour and one of the women who has been working there for the last 20 years told us her story of how she was in jail for 88 days and hooked on crack cocaine and was able to turn her life around. She had us crying."
The Ocho also led a flag football game with the kids. Gilley and a couple other Soldiers served as judges for the touchdown celebrations since a dance was required after a score, while Natalie Mahon and Ryan Casey reffed.
An all-day trip to Disney ensued and they hit all the spots. Magic Kingdom. EPCOT. They didn't have to wait in any lines and they got a backstage look, along with a photo op in which they threw footballs to The Ocho wearing Mickey Mouse gloves.
With the ChadRide rolling into the fourth day, Gilley has been thinking. She'd like to organize some kind of annual Soldiers reunion at a Cincinnati or Dayton charity like the one they visited Saturday with The Ocho bringing along some other Bengals. At the very least, she'd like to get involved with some kind of charity work back home with her own family that includes 13- and 17-year-old sons.
"To me, that's the one thing that's coming out of this," she said. "We're all talking about giving something back after we get back home."