In Homestead, Pennsylvania, at Eat N’ Park, four police officers were enjoying their meal when a server began directing another couple toward a booth close to them. The man, however, told the waitress, “Nah, I don’t want to sit here,” as soon as he noticed the officers and requested to be placed on the other side of the restaurant.
It’s okay, sir, I murmured as I turned to face him. We won’t harm you, so don’t worry about it, Homestead police officer Chuck Thomas assured the crowd. “He gave me another intense stare before saying he wasn’t going to sit here and leaving.”
The officers chose to respond to the hostile interaction by remaining above it since they are fully aware that tensions between police and the residents of the neighborhoods they serve have been high.
When the couple’s $28.50 bill arrived, the receipt had the following note:
“Sir, the police officers you didn’t want to sit near to paid for your check. I appreciate your help.
The main objective, according to Thomas, was to demonstrate to him that we weren’t intending any harm. We are available to you. We serve the public by working. And we simply want to strengthen the bonds between the police and the community.
It appears that their gesture had the desired outcome. One of the customers whose dinner the officers had paid for smiled and said “thank you” as they departed the restaurant.
Although it was only one small deed, hopefully it was the beginning of something much bigger.