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Nine-year-old Noah was enjoying breakfast with his family at a Lakeland, Florida diner when he noticed a police officer eating breakfast alone. The sight saddened the little boy who didn’t want this community hero to go unrecognized and unloved for the brave acts he performs on a daily basis. Noah had a plan but was very anxious to go through with it. It involved the officer, a short hand-written note, and sneaking away from his mother to slip it to the cop. But the little boy found the courage to go through with the act and when the officer read the note – he jumped from his booth unsure of how to respond.
Noah looked at the officer and saw something amazing. Because Noah wants to grow up and become a police officer himself, he saw a role model in the Lakeland cop. When his mother, Amanda Cantin, had realized why Noah was so eager to go up to the cop, the little boy slipped out and walked over to Officer Eddie Benitez. Noah simply wanted to say ‘hi’ to the hero in uniform.
Noah and his mom were eating breakfast at Denny’s because it was “bring Your Child to Work Day.” Knowing that her boy wanted to serve his community as a police officer, she then encouraged him to go up to Officer Benitez, be courageous and introduce himself.
But Noah was intimidated. He didn’t want the officer to reject him. What if the cop didn’t like him or told him he didn’t have what it took to be a cop?
Instead, Noah decided to put his birthday money to good use. He paid for Officer Benitez’s breakfast.
With the help of his mother, Noah flagged down the waitress and told her that he wanted to pay for the cop’s food. When they got the receipt, Noah wrote a special note to the officer. And when the cop read it, he leapt up from his chair searching for the little boy.
“I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service.”
Officer Benitez was stunned and instantly knew that Noah would make a perfect copy when he came of age. And he wanted to take a photo with his biggest little admirer.
“He didn’t understand why this little boy was walking down there with his tab. His face was very shocked,” Amanda said.
Officer Benitez was touched that a little boy had paid for his breakfast. And he plans to carry the receipt around with him as a reminder of why he does what he does for his community.
“It meant everything. It meant that I’m supposed to wake up every morning and put on this uniform and go out there and do what I do. You know?” Officer Benitez said. “It means that I need to keep trying to be a good example to all these young guys.”
The Lakeland police department was also impressed with the young boy. They shared the following on their Facebook page:
“Well Noah, you touched all of our hearts today. Your support means so much to all of the men and women who put on the uniform every day.”
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