BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man received a big birthday dinner surprise Tuesday night when former LSU and NBA star Shaquille O'Neal showed up at the table.
Chris Plant said his family had planned a birthday dinner for him at Texas De Brazil in Baton Rouge and just as his relatives were about to sing "Happy Birthday" to him, Shaq showed up out of nowhere and greeted the table.
"Oh, look at Shaq, look at Shaq," Plant recalls a friend saying. "We were just star struck."
While Shaq was enjoying dinner, Chris and his friends were plotting. "Through the whole dinner, we were just talking about if we could get a picture with Shaq."
In an effort to break the ice and get the introductions going before the night came to an end, Chris gave Shaq a shout.
"Hey Shaq," he yelled out. "They want to talk to you so much man, just come over here."
Chris and his friend, Denise Thomas, say the 7-foot tall basketball star came over with no hesitation, towering over them. "When I stood next to Shaq, I think my head was right at his shoulder," he said.
But Thomas is sorry to admit that at first, she didn't recognize the basketball star. "Well I know a couple of Shaqs," Thomas said with a smile. "I wouldn't think he would be coming at that time of the night out to eat as well."
But Thomas was quick to tell him he should know who she is. "So when he got over, I told him that he knew who I was because we have a mutual friend," she explained.
Shaq took a few minutes for a quick photo shoot with the birthday crew, before he gave Chris his well wishes and footed the bill for the entire table of ten people. "Everyone was saying 'Shaq, God bless you,'" he recalls. "I didn't expect that. That was the topper. That was the icing on the cake," Plant said. "I guess the greatest thing next is to see Jesus. It's nothing compared to it."
Plant says Shaq popping up at the table wasn't part of his family's plan. He added he's been a Shaq fan his entire life.
"Little old Chris Plant, Jr., I have a picture with Shaq. He paid for my birthday meal and he told me happy birthday. Who doesn't want that?" Plant said.