One of the most uplifting things for any police officer is when a citizen extends gratitude for doing a life-threatening job which most others dare not do, especially nowadays with the incessant vitriol from the anti-police cesspool. Thankfully, kids know better than to buy into hateful stances toward law enforcement officers fervently trying to keep the peace, maintain law and order, and deliver safety provisions and services for the good of all.
In that context, any youngster witnessing the extraordinary work being done by our nation’s cops, and voluntarily coming forward to speak from the heart by saying Thank You… can make a cop’s day or week or month or maybe even his/her career.
As we have said in this space several times, no LEO should forget his/her Why.
A young policeman was recently reminded of his Why when two children took it upon themselves to offer their gratitude with words and a hand-painted message which would become indelible in his mind.
I corresponded with Lexington, Kentucky police Officer T. Lockridge who offered the following account, one which moved him to echo a construct for cops across America:
“After a long week of work, I came outside today to grab something out of my [police] cruiser and I find a little girl and boy standing in the road with their mom. They have their bike and tricycle as they were about 3 and 5 years old. The kids watched as I walked towards the car and began to smile so big. I waved and spoke to them as I keep walking and the little girl says, ‘We left you a note!’
“I didn’t quite see it at first but then they both ran over and pointed to the simple words on the ground, ‘Thank you.’ They were so proud of what they wrote, and the girl even said, ‘I wrote the words, and I helped my little brother draw the heart.’” (The above cover photograph provided by Officer Lockridge illustrates these words.)
Officer Lockridge continued: “I got to talking with the mom after letting them play in the car, turning on the lights and such, to which she said when they go for a walk, the kids always want to come by to see the police car at the hopes they can see you and wave. The mom said she didn’t put the kids up to it or ask them to write anything, but they came up to her prepared with chalk. I have seen the kids at a distance but have never met them, until today.
“As they began to ride their bikes up the road, the mom shouted, ‘You made their day!’ I can assure you ma’am, it’s just the opposite.
“To those that are still fighting the good fight, remember the words of a young brother and sister: ‘Thank You.’”
That is a gem of a gesture offered by two sibling children equipped with chalk, sincerity, heart, and a love for their police heroes. I suspect the chalk color is blue not by happenstance but by intention, a representative way to illustrate their Hallmark with iconic pertinence.
In our correspondence, Officer Lockridge offered a tidbit which emphasized the idea of this piece. Of his now-viral picture with accompanying storyline, this young policeman said if his post can do any good, then he wishes to share and spread it far and wide. Only happy to help a fellow officer out in that exact regard, with my gratitude for his stewardship over a chance meeting of humanitarian proportions which he astutely registered as a life moment with mutual dividends. The Why of everyone’s purpose, including children fashioned with chalk and complimentary designs for cops.
Focusing on kids saying “Thank you” to police officers, watch this brief video and listen to a Tempe, Arizona police sergeant presenting this little guy with a brand-new John Deere tractor. Choking back tears and seemingly talking with a lump in his throat, the police squad leader got through his gift-giving and lit up a young boy’s life with cool police trinkets:
(Screenshot courtesy of WYFF News 4.)
Why’d a squad of Tempe’s Finest do this? Per WYFF News 4, “When these Arizona police officers found out that a little boy’s toy Gator tractor had been stolen, they surprised him with a new one!”
Any time a youngster is in the presence of law enforcement officials, the surety of his/her eyes lighting up is a priceless Hallmark—evidenced in the video we just watched. Several times, that little boy said “Thank you” while being happily overwhelmed with goodness delivered by public safety pros.
Similarly, cops with the Alton Police Department in Illinois learned that a special youngster who goes out of his way to help his mom had his bicycle stolen. I bet you already guessed what a few squad members did for this young man.
This Alton PD press release ought to confirm your notions: “Last week, Keyondre Latham’s bike was stolen while he was in Dollar General running an errand for his mom. Keyondre is often helping his family by using his bike to run to the store.
“Officer Parker (pictured below) took Keyondre’s report and immediately told the other officers on his shift about what happened and what a good kid Keyondre is. So today the entire shift pitched in and bought Keyondre a new bike, complete with a light and bike lock to make sure he can keep helping his family. Keyondre was surprised and SO excited and grateful!”
Grateful. Definitely a common denominator among young people, with especially valid reasons, honoring cops doing a proverbially thankless job in a society enduring a super challenging climate.
(Photo courtesy of the Alton Police Department.)
As an Alton police spokesperson iterated, “These are the things officers do every day but don’t always get shown to the world. Please join us as we say THANK YOU to APD’s D Shift for their generosity and kindness in helping where they can. And an even bigger thank you to Officer Parker for recognizing the need!”
How true. And it is one of the many reasons which drew me to my agency.
Back in the day, we had a storeroom of surplus goods for mostly children: brand-new bike helmets were donated by civic organizations and the Florida Department of Transportation; knee and elbow guards were provided gratis by local bicycle repair shops or purchased via funds provided by the local Knights of Columbus chapter; child car seats were provided/installed by cops anywhere and at any time they were needed by whomever.
Resourcefully, our PD had some nifty researchers and analytical writers composing grant applications to secure funds from various government/private sources, enabling our police force to acquire commodities for distribution to our community. Lifesaving comes in myriad forms, from real-time brinks to gestural provisions delivered in coordinated forums such as bicycle rodeos and police agency tours (kids especially love police-badge stickers and canine cops:
Thank you is a two-way street: Kids thanking cops…cops thanking kids…and their parents/mentors for teaching children the values of gratitude, the common denominator of doing good on behalf of others with a servant’s heart.
These are exemplifications of the oft-cited “silent majority” which embrace and herald law enforcement officers out there performing duties while confronting consistently critical activists in a highly charged environment with perils lurking 24/7/365.
Indeed, first impressions transcend lifetime loyalties to those who are responsible for instituting law and order underscoring constitutional principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…at any age.
I can attest that the most inexplicable, hair-raising, surreal, bizarre, stress-inducing incidents I experienced as a policeman were rather instantly subdued whenever a youngster approached to say hello, shake my hand, and/or politely ask, “Can I see the inside of your cop car?” This type of elixir for cops goes a very long way (as Officer Lockridge denoted) but may not get deserved exposure, at least not by many media mavens lusting for bloodletting stories supplemented by their chronic maligning of otherwise fantastic police work conducted by phenomenal public safety professionals.
Indeed, it’s been undeniably challenging for cops lately, and that’s why we are here on this page, together…justly consuming truth.
Reminders are always apropos, and we echo our Lexington lawman once more: “To those that are still fighting the good fight, remember the words of a young brother and sister: ‘Thank You.’”
(Photo courtesy of Blue Love.)
Well, look at that: Yet another youngster equipped with blue chalk, a hearty gesture, and an expression of her love for the police.