Myles Garrett has more doggie play dates with his German Shepherd “son” Gohan in the works.

So, too, are costume parties similar to the one Browns defensive end Garrett, perfectly clad as Khal Drogo, threw for the “Game of Thrones” finale. The November season premiere of quirky animated series

“Rick and Morty” could be next on his calendar.

But what best exemplifies how Garrett has become Cleveland’s man of the people is his generosity, especially toward restaurant servers in Northeast Ohio.

When it comes to those waiting on him and his friends, Garrett could be more aptly described as an angel of the people.

“I just didn’t have the opportunity as much in college to give back as I wanted to. Now that I have the means and resources, it’s always been something I’ve been passionate about,” Garrett said during a one-on-one interview June 5 at Browns headquarters.

As college buddy and roommate Jeremy Medina told the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, the big tipping began when Garrett was still playing at Texas A&M. But since he became the first overall pick in 2017 by the

Browns, what Medina called “the numbers game” is being played more frequently.

Medina said Garrett is a 200 percent tipper and counted at least seven times Garrett has added on at least $500. Once it was “definitely close to $1,000,” Medina said.
But the rewards are not only for good service.

“If he feels that person is having a rough day or he sees that person running around a lot, he’ll just give ‘em a gift,” Medina said in a June 6 telephone interview. “I haven’t checked the check in a while. He might have done it a lot more recently. I’ll look over and I’ll see the tip and I’m like, ‘Uh, oh. I know we didn’t spend $1,400 here.’”

As Medina explained, Garrett will ask the server his or her favorite number. If it’s between one and five, Garrett will attach zeros, as in $100, $200, $300. If it’s 21, Garrett will multiply that by the number of people at their table. Medina has seen Garrett leave an $84 tip when they were eating $10 tacos.

What makes the game even more satisfying is that Garrett usually does not stick around to see the reaction.

“I do recall one time we were waiting for one of our friends to get back from the restroom. The server was like, ‘Oh, my God,’ and asked for a hug and was kind of hysterical,” Medina said. “I don’t know how I would act if I got over $200 on a tip. That would make my month for sure.”

Medina, 21, a native of San Antonio, Texas, met Garrett, 23, just before the 2017 draft during a pickup basketball game in the Texas A&M rec center. Their friendship grew and Medina moved in with Garrett in January to manage Garrett’s social media accounts. Once a biomedical science major who planned to become a doctor, Medina is now taking online classes in pursuit of a degree in marketing.

Garrett’s giving heart has been on full display to Medina, who once saw Garrett surreptitiously buy a laptop for a friend about to graduate with an engineering degree because Garrett said his old one was “crappy.” Medina said Garrett bought him a home computer so he could work more efficiently on their event planning and marketing.

A chance encounter with a man who couldn’t afford to trade in his broken iPhone only to have Garrett pay his balance went viral when a lifelong Browns fan tweeted the thank-you message he discovered on Facebook.

“I didn’t expect it to go farther than the store,” Garrett said. “I was there to look at an iPad; I had just donated my laptop, so I thought I’ll get something to watch movies on. He’s talking to one of the managers at the store, ‘I’m trying to call my friends, I don’t know if they’ll be able to give this much to me. If they do, I don’t know how I’m going to pay them back. I haven’t talked to my son in three days.’ Nobody deserves to be in that position.

“I went over and told the manager, ‘I’ll pay for his balance. Don’t even worry about it.’” Garrett said he later followed up via social media to check on the man.
Medina said Garrett is a fan of anime and has reached out on social media to kids who have been bullied as geeks for their love of the computer animation.
Garrett undoubtedly has a connection with Cleveland fans, but said his personal involvement with the community was part of his plan.

“This has always been in my mind. Always things just running through,” Garrett said. “I wouldn’t say a list, but just have some ideas cookin’ of what I can do just to mix things up and interact with fans and try and give back and also donate to a good cause while I’m at it.”

Garrett said his doggie play dates will eventually become monthly, even though Gohan was friendly with people but wouldn’t romp with the other animals.

“I like spur of the moment little things that can brighten people’s day and just have something for people to look forward to at the end of the week,” Garrett said. “It’s little things to big things. Eventually I want to work to larger causes and be a real force in the community and the environment.”

Garrett also enjoys nature walks, taking Gohan with him, along with Medina and sometimes  Larry Ogunjobi, his locker mate.

“Driving and hiking are two of my favorite things to do just to relax. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up and down some of these trails,” Garrett said.

Spending time outdoors goes back to his days growing up in Arlington, Texas.

“I lived in the suburbs a lot, but I’d get out to the country, climbing trees, just walk where I could. I was always just kind of a wanderer,” Garrett said.

Defensive tackle Ogunjobi said he enjoys unwinding with Garrett in the “pretty dope” scenic areas of Northeast Ohio.

“We both kinda consider ourselves Renaissance men,” Ogunjobi said during a May 22 interview. “I’m into all that kind of stuff, too, I’m just a little bit more quiet about it.”

Even those quiet times may go public thanks to Medina, who helps Garrett tweet and post on social media to help people relate to him.

“For a long time, he didn’t even have Twitter or Instagram on his phone because he didn’t really like the notifications or he didn’t really want distractions from poetry. It was distracting him from the things he loved to do,” Medina said. “I said, ‘I’ll do it for you.’ As he had ideas or he said some things, I was like, ‘Let me tweet that for you’ or ‘Let me word it a little differently. I’ll send it out, I’ll take pictures for you.’

“He gained a lot of followers since last offseason, and I see him gaining a lot more before this season, especially with Odell [Beckham Jr.] and all the media presence they’re getting. Recently we’ve been getting into a marketing company that’s giving us kind of a structured plan and then we can fill in the gaps in between with our own things. There have been a lot of moves recently to build his brand on the social market, just so he can express who he is to the fans.”

Garrett hasn’t given up on poetry as an outlet. He said he’s also writing a children’s book, although he hadn’t found an illustrator as of early June.

“It’s taking a little bit longer than I would have thought, but it’s something I’m chipping away at. Eventually it will get published,” he said. “I need an illustrator. I can draw, but it takes too much time.”

Of course, dinosaurs (another of his passions) are involved.

“It won’t be in every book, but for this first one it seems the easiest,” he said.

Garrett said he’d like to follow in the footsteps of former Browns Pro Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge, who took fans to movies on Thursday nights during his time in Cleveland, but Garrett said he’s too picky about what movies he sees.

Theme parties are another matter. For the “Game of Thrones” finale, he rented out space at a hotel, had food catered, and gave out a prize for the best costume. Garrett said about 40 fans and friends attended.

“He wanted to do a giant, thousands-of-people watch party. Unfortunately HBO didn’t want advertising of their show and I’m kind of glad they didn’t because there might have been a riot with that finale,” Medina said, adding that Garrett’s initial thought was to hold the viewing at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Medina said now that they’ve “dipped into the pool” of watch parties, the “Rick and Morty” idea has taken off. The animated series shown on streaming services Hulu and Adult Swim follows the crazy sci-fi adventures of a super scientist and his not-so-bright grandson.

“I’m trying to work with the writers of Rick and Morty to get permission to have a giant watch party and [Garrett] wants costumes. He wants to have the people of Cleveland there,” Medina said.
Ogunjobi, a third-round pick in 2017 who was Garrett’s roommate as a rookie, said Garrett wasn’t comfortable with such a big social media presence when he first arrived.

“He’s always just been to himself. When we first got here a lot of cameras, a lot of lights, a lot was flashing in his face and he wasn’t really used to that,” Ogunjobi said. “I think now he’s getting more comfortable with the limelight, more comfortable with being that kind of guy just to be out there. I feel once he’s doing that, he’s allowing his personality to really show, so that’s good.”

Asked about Garrett being so out there that he’s taking selfies and connecting with fans, Ogunjobi said, “He should. At the end of the day, they’re what makes this organization so special. The least we can do is take pictures, show our support and show that we actually care about them, not just in the stadium, but outside, too.”

Last July 31, Garrett arrived unannounced to deliver a signed jersey to the Brunswick home of Eric Scalfano, who had come through on a Twitter challenge Garrett issued seven months earlier and given Garrett a stuffed dinosaur on his Dec. 29 birthday.

Garrett said the satisfaction didn’t come from Scalfano’s mother screaming when she spotted Garrett at the front door.

“The satisfaction comes from the happiness that I bring to them,” Garrett said. “It’s not to bring me any kind of fame or anything about news or media, that really brings me nothing. It’s nice to see that people care.

“But that in-person connection that you get is unlike any other, to change their life even for a day and show that somebody cares for them and wants the best for them. You can’t get that anywhere else.”

Medina said since he’s known Garrett, he has always had the desire to connect with people on a deeper level.

“He’s not like other athletes -- he has a deeper side that he likes to express to the fans,” Medina said. “He’s always been just a normal Average Joe on the inside and everyone’s kind of seen him [as] a football god, per se. He just wanted to connect with them in a more relatable sense.”

When Garrett envisions his post-NFL life, he knows he may no longer be the angel of the people of Cleveland, but he will be someone’s.

“I’ll probably be somewhere farther with some more land with a wife, kids and a couple pets,” Garrett said. “I’ll try to stay out of the limelight even then, but I’ll do my best to give back. That’s always been my passion -- before sports, before poetry, before anything artistic -- just being there for someone.”