When police officers make the commitment to protect and serve their community, it means different things to different people. While some officers consider it their duty to focus solely on the law and order aspect of being in the police force, others take a softer approach and build lasting bonds with the community that build trust. Because some people do not feel comfortable around police officers, cops who take it upon themselves to build bridges are doing their community a wonderful service.
That’s why what an Ohio sheriff’s deputy did is making headlines. The officer stopped by 9-year-old Gabrielle’s lemonade stand and purchased a drink. It was a summery day, and Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Zach Ropos was thirsty. Gabrielle’s lemonade stand was the perfect solution to quench his thirst. Ropos is 22-years-old.
“I see a little girl come running up to my police car,” Ropos said. “She hands me a glass, I hand her a few bucks. I asked her what she wanted to do with the money. She said she’d get an iPad to help with school and play games.”
Ropos was surprised that the girl wanted to focus on her schoolwork. It inspired him because little kids don’t always care about their education. But Gabrielle certainly did.
Ropos then did something that was totally unexpected. He approached Gabrielle’s mother and told her that he had an old iPad that he no longer used. He told the girl’s mother that he wanted to give it to the little girl running the lemonade stand.
That night after his shift, Ropos went to dig up the old iPad. But when he tried to turn it on, he was disappointed. It no longer worked. And he felt he had let the little girl down.
“I went home that night, fired up the iPad, but it just wasn’t updated anymore. Nothing really worked on it.”
That’s when Ropos did something that no one saw coming. The next morning before he started his shift, he went to a local store and offered a deal. He said he would pay for a portion of the laptop if the store would donate the rest of it. And later that day, Sheriff’s Deputy Ropos returned to Gabrielle’s lemonade stand with the surprise.
“I talked to the little girl, gave her a speech about how courageous and admirable I think her efforts were to save up her money. I asked her how much she saved up and she said she only had a few dollars.”
As it turned out, Gabrielle’s mother needed money for gas, so the little girl had forfeited her iPad fund to support her mother.
“When she told me she gave the money to her mother that’s when I almost started crying because of how great of a kid she really was.”
That’s when Ropos handed over the brand-new tablet. It would be just the thing to help Gabrielle excel at school.
“Seeing her face is how I remember Christmas when I was five-years-old. She couldn’t stop smiling!”
Now that’s an officer who knows how to serve his community!
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