When Matt Irwin knocked on the door numbered 858 at the J C Napier Residence Association in Nashville, he couldn't have imagined the reaction to come.
The woman who emerged screamed with joy, overcome by the scene on her front step - Irwin, Metropolitan Nashville Police officers, community leaders, Predators staff and television cameras - all there to deliver a turkey and all the fixings for Thanksgiving.
Oh, was she ever thankful.
But that's what it's all about at this time of the year - pausing to reflect on the blessings we do have while giving back what we can to those less fortunate.
With that spirit in mind, Irwin headed out into the community alongside a number of Metro PD officers from the Hermitage Precinct to surprise residents with Thanksgiving meals - and to show them the rest of their city cares about them.
"For us to be able to bring a turkey, bring the fixings and allow them to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner with their family and friends is special and it means a lot to us," Irwin said. "It means a lot to me, and just the opportunity for the organization and what they provide us with to give back to these families, it's really special."
With turkeys donated by Delaware North and sides purchased by Preds front-office staffers, the Nashville Predators Foundation teamed up with Joe Bradford. Simply known as "Papa Joe," Bradford is an author, speaker, teacher and CEO of Elijah's Heart, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to show love to underprivileged children and their families, to assist them with practical needs and to raise awareness about their desperate situations to inspire others to act.
"This is awesome, and we don't get to see this every day in this community," Bradford said. "Just the fact that the Predators are acknowledging us over here, they're just full of love. It's life changing for some of these families here, and we're really glad to be able to receive them today."
Video: Preds, Metro PD deliver Thanksgiving meals
The afternoon also reinvigorated a relationship the Preds have had with the Nashville Police going on two decades, finding was to come together and make their community a better place.
"Anytime we can get out in the community and just serve the people that we guard and protect, it's great," Metro PD Commander Preston Brandimore said. "Nashville is booming, and I think everyone knows that, but not everyone has seen the same amount of growth. Anytime you can help others just a little bit to brighten up their Thanksgiving or their Christmas, it makes them feel good, it makes you feel good and it's a great thing to do."
As the group traversed the respective neighborhoods with surprises in tow, the gratefulness was evident, with plenty of smiles, hugs and well wishes to go around.
And while not every reaction may have been as memorable as the one early on in the journey, the love was still easy to sense as families realized their Thanksgiving tables will be a bit more bountiful this time around.
"It's just a big sign to us that the city cares," Bradford said. "If nothing else, it shows that they care, and we're so thankful for that."