Police officers gave a teenager $2,600 to return his own act of kindness, in a story that has gone viral online.
Officers from the police department in Kemah, Texas, were eating lunch at the Saltgrass Steak House when they noticed a teenager who seemed to be staring at them during their meal. When the server came to give them their bill, the officers were told the teen had paid for the officers' lunch, to show his appreciation for police officers, according to Little Things.
The officers were touched by the gesture. "It meant a lot to us for someone who doesn’t know us. Who has never seen us or met us or someone who didn’t even acknowledge us," said Kemah police detective Alonzo Soza.
"We were told you wanted to pay for our meal to show your support for Law Enforcement and WE VERY MUCH APPRECIATE IT! So thank you sir and I hope I run into you again so I can thank you properly in person. Hope you have a great day!" read a post about the encounter on the Kemah PD's Facebook page.
The group learned the teenager was Travis Allen, a student at University of Houston-Clear Lake, who also worked as a server at the Saltgrass Steak House. The grateful officers decided, after learning about Allen's hardworking nature and academic goals, to pay back his act of kindness with one of their own.
A group of officers later surprised Allen with a check for $2,600 in the Saltgrass parking lot, hoping the money could help with his educational expenses.
"I wasn’t looking for recognition," Allen told local media. "It was to show them that people still care and that not everyone was against them."
In a similar case earlier this year, another teenager left an uplifting note on a napkin for police officers in a Chili's restaurant in Kansas City, Kansas, as well as paying for the officers' meal, according to The Huffington Post.
"Thanks for keeping us safe," read the note, which Officer Rance Quinn said touched the group of officers more than the teenager may have even realized.
"It seems though that the normally silent supporters are speaking out to support the profession," said Quinn in a post telling the story on Facebook.