In the eyes of many Americans, the recent events in Dallas changed the tone of the national conversation about police.
For one group of Pennsylvania officers, though, an experience at a local restaurant — just days after a gunman killed 5 of their brothers in blue — proved that this certainly isn’t the case for everyone.
Rather than hold a grudge against two strangers that had just plainly slighted them, WTAE reports that the four instead chose to use it as an opportunity to show exactly what kind of men they are.
Homestead Police Officer Chuck Thomas was enjoying a meal with three of his fellow cops over the weekend when a couple walked into the Eat N’ Park diner.
Server Jesse Meyers, who was working that day, explained that the couple was about to be seated next to the policemen when:
“The guy looks over at one of the police officers and was like, ‘Nah I don’t want to sit here.’
So they got moved completely opposite, away from the police officers.”
Close enough to overhear the exchange, Thomas says he instinctively looked over at the man — adding that he could tell from his body language that he “wanted nothing to do with police” — and sought to reassure him:
“I looked over at him and said, ‘You don’t have to worry about it. We won’t hurt you,’” Thomas said.
“He said, ‘No, I’m good. I don’t want to sit there.’”
Fully aware that there was “tight air through the community” in the wake of the Dallas shootings and nationwide protests, Thomas and his friends knew just how to respond:
Rather than respond in kind, the officers decided to pay for the couple’s meal, even adding a note to their receipt that read:
“Sir, your check was paid for by the police officers that you didn’t want to sit next to. Thank you for your support.
I left a $10.00 tip too.”
Since writing about the experience on his Facebook page, the officers’ gesture of kindness quickly spread, making headlines across the country.
While it remains unclear exactly why the couple didn’t want to be seated next to the officers, Thomas explains that:
“It just dawned on me, I should do this real quick just to show this guy look, I don’t know if you had bad experience with the police in the past — you may have you may have not — but I just want you to know I never had an experience with you and I’m not here to do anything to you.
And neither will my partners.”
He adds that he hopes his gesture will make some small headway to break the “us-against-them mentality” that seems to affect so many police departments in the U.S.
At least in the case of this couple, these officers’ effort certainly seems to have paid off, as they say they got a smile and a thank you from the duo as they walked out.
Source: independent journal
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