Originally Published: Oct 29, 2009 9:31 AM CDT

Dave Carty
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

It’s simply unavoidable. Some have even called it an epidemic.

It swept through a local Homeland grocery store and Big Truck Tacos, intoxicating those in sight. Then, this morning, it hit drivers like a ton of bricks on the Kilpatrick Turnpike, just as they passed through the toll.

Not even newborn children or their mothers were safe, as it swept through Integris Health.

But, unlike the H1N1 virus, Thunder Fever is brightening up lives in Oklahoma City.

Rumble the Bison, the Oklahoma City Thunder mascot, has been sweeping through the city offering "Rumble Acts of Kindness". Buying lunch for hungry patrons at Big Truck Tacos, paying for a lucky Homeland customer’s groceries – about $400 worth - and bringing goodie bags to about 20 families at Integris Health’s baby ward are among the acts of generosity. Most recently, Monday morning, Rumble paid for drivers' toll on the Kilpatrick Turnpike.

"As the season approaches, we just thought it would be a neat thing for Rumble to be out in the community like he always is," said Dan Mahoney, Vice President of Corporate Communications for the Thunder. "We thought this would be a good way to keep the buzz going and keep everybody excited about the start of Thunder basketball in the second year of our franchise."

The Thunder open up their preseason on Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings. To prepare for the tip-off, Rumble is blanketing the city, leaving behind gifts – and, yes, maybe a trail of bison fur.

His fifth and final stop in the tour will come Tuesday at Positive Tomorrows, a tuition-free school for homeless children that the Thunder have been closely involved with in the past. After consulting the school, Rumble will bring about $1,500 worth of curriculum learning materials.

"Very often, teachers have to pay out of their pockets," said Mahoney. "So, we were glad for Rumble to be able to step in and the Thunder community foundation to step in and help fund it.

"Rumble wants to show how much he appreciates the support he’s received," he added. "It’s just an effort to get Rumble out in the community, do good things, and let people know that how much we appreciate the community support."