Due to a most generous donation, one California Police Department will be paying it forward for the whole year to come. As part of the Oceanside Police Department’s Random Acts of Kindness Project, every month officers center around an alternate way to assist strangers in their local community. In March, they handed out envelopes loaded with cash at local gas stations to assist with combating the rising oil costs, and this month they’re helping customers at their local grocery store pay for their grocery bills.
“Grocery costs have skyrocketed and Oceanside police officers are heading out to stores to help people overcome food insecurity,” the department wrote on social media. “OPD will surprise shoppers with Random Acts of Kindness by helping with the grocery tab in April.”
This week, officers have stopped by various stores at different times of the day to hand out $100, according to CBS affiliate KFMB-TV and ABC affiliate KGTV.
“Are you serious?” one woman asked after being approached by officers from the department, per KGTV. “I never thought of anything like that happening, it’s remarkable, takes your breath away.”
Another customer was similarly awestruck after an officer halted her to ask how much cash she thought she’d be spending that day.
“More than I want to!” the Walmart Neighborhood Market customer said, only to be told she was going to get $100 in cash, per KFMB-TV. “Oh my gosh!” she responded.
The family behind the first donation decided to give the department $20,000 to help keep the kindness going around all year. The program was initially sent off in December as a way to “help make spirits brighter in Oceanside” during the Christmas season, the department said. At that point, that meant offering $100 to unsuspecting drivers.
“We can think of no better way for us to provide acts of kindness to Oceanside residents than by partnering with Oceanside police officers who are on the front lines and encounter those who need kindness and a helping hand on a regular basis,” said Wayne Fortin, the founder of Trauma Intervention Programs Inc.
The department likewise hopes that the ambitious program will help develop their relationships and trust with the local community.
This is just one example out of many to show or prove that not “all cops are bad”. These officers, like you and I, have families to go home to. I’m sure they get stressed at times, and when most of us would run away from any particular danger, they run towards it, whether they are scared or not. Sure, there can be bad apples among the bunch, but it’s not fair to toss the whole lot due to a few sour apples. Next time you see an officer in the grocery store or gas station, consider thanking them for their service. We never know what kind of day they may be having, or what they’re going through, and as the kindness in this scenario has been made to “go around all year”, we should return the same kindness.