Last week, a woman named Therra Gwyn Jaramillo described, over the course of more than 1,200 words on Facebook, how a man named Chris had bought her groceries at Whole Foods — $375 worth — in a moment of grave need. (She was strapped, and a friend had sent her to the expensive store with a $250 gift card.)
She had not recognized her benefactor at first. But soon, the cashier told her that the Chris who bought her groceries was, in fact, Ludacris.
Upon learning who had bought her groceries, Jaramillo burst into what she described as "the worst possible white-woman rendition" of Ludacris’ Rollout (My Business).
"Ludacris," she wrote. "This guy is awesome run amok. You know why? He was just doing something kind for a disheveled, harried stranger."
The story was no doubt heartwarming. But was it true? How could Jaramillo have been familiar enough to rap the words of Rollout while at the same time failing to recognize the man born Christopher Brian Bridges?
What would Ludacris even be doing at a Whole Foods? Does he do his own shopping? Does he prefer 365 Everyday Value Almond Butter to other brands?
We quickly found evidence that he really does shop at Whole Foods — and that he likes almonds quite a bit.
Still, there were reasons to be suspicious. Ludacris, one Twitter account claimed back in May, had bought someone’s cousin’s groceries in Atlanta.
Had Jaramillo simply lifted details from the earlier story? Or had Ludacris pulled this stunt before?
An Atlanta news station looked into it, and it seemed she was telling the truth.
So what was this then? Does Ludacris just go to Atlanta-area grocery stores, buying household staples for civilians in need?
The internet confirms he’s certainly seen at a lot of them. All in all, we found well over 100 posts of Ludacris’ going to grocery stores, about once a month, going back years and years. Whole Foods was a frequent destination, though he had also been seen at Sprouts Fresh Market, Publix and Costco.
We wondered whether going shopping at Whole Foods was something that popular rappers and producers of the previous decade did regularly. (It is, of course, perfectly possible for a celebrity to go shopping without it being announced on social media.)
Nelly had only been (possibly) reported at a Whole Foods on Twitter once: in 2013.
Lil Jon had been spotted several times, also in 2013. But Ludacris had been there far more often.
One Twitter user announced that 50 Cent had been seen — also in 2013 — but later seemed confused.
There was no sign of Ja Rule at Whole Foods, at least not on Twitter.
We reached out to Ludacris’ longtime manager, Chaka Zulu, to confirm the grocery purchasing. And also to ask: Does Ludacris go grocery shopping at an unusual frequency for a famous person?
"Funny thing," Zulu wrote back the next day. "Luda does these things all the time. But he doesn’t want to do interviews to highlight it. It’s just his heart."
Okay, great. Ludacris is a charitable person.
But does he do his own shopping? Like, frequently? Like, more frequently than most celebrities of his stature do?
"From time to time," Zulu wrote, "he shops his self."