A rise in police violence has left many doubting today’s justice system. Still, some cops — such as the handful from El Segundo who helped replace a teen’s stolen money — are demonstrating kindness. For a Chicago teen, sneaking into XSport Fitness was routine, as he could no longer pay for a membership. When staff phoned the feds, officer Mario Valenti offered to pay for the 15-year-old’s membership, granted he would stay out of trouble.
“After 23 years in this job, you size up people pretty quickly. And I could tell he was a gentle type of kid,” [said] Valenti.
Moved by Valenti’s gesture, the club offered to shoulder the remaining funds for a two-year membership. Teen Vincent Gonzales, an aspiring point guard, expressed his gratitude through a text and on national television. Similarly, Valenti’s good deed lifted a burden off his own shoulders.
“You get satisfaction out of helping people, especially because our job is so negative,” Valenti said.
Good cop, bad cop? In Valenti’s case, just cop, as his actions should be standard for anyone in law enforcement.
Some people may have big shoes to fill, but never leave out the chance to do good. In a courageous attempt to save endangered penguins, the Chilean government snubbed a billion-dollar mining project. On the other side of the world, policewoman Gretchen Byrne is transforming the Boca Raton station into an awesome kitten shelter.
“I will get three breaks: A 40-minute lunch break and two 10-minute breaks. Instead of going for pizza with my colleagues I use that time to run to the station and feed them,” she explained. “It all comes out of my paycheck at the end of the day but I don’t have kids so it is probably still cheaper than having kids.”
In just two years, Byrne has rescued 63 cats, knowing shelters would be too full to take them in. She uses Instagram as a platform to advertise her precious adoptables. Though her four-legged tenants can be rambunctious, Byrne claims they also help her to relax.
“The other thing is that is really nice to come home and have kittens to help me destress. I’m dealing with a lot of stuff on road patrol.”
If there is one thing we’re sure of, it’s that Byrne takes the notion of cat lady to a whole new level!
Let’s be real — the notion that our children know nothing about the value of money is a myth. Kids across the nation have donated their savings to disaster victims and the deaf community, among other groups. Next to climb on board the donation train is Sidney Fahrenbruch. The 4-year-old pledged her entire piggy bank to help a policeman with cancer.
“It all started about two years ago when she saw an officer directing traffic. It was hot outside and she said, ‘He looks thirsty; he needs water,’ and she brought him a bottle of water,’” [said Sidney’s mother Megan.]
Sidney, an avid fan of the Longmont Police Department, donated $9 to Officer Kyle Zulauf. The army vet was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. A regular at the precinct delivering cookies and candies, Sidney has surely done her mother proud.
“It feels good that she’s so giving. She wanted to save the money for a toy but decided someone needed it more than her,” said Fahrenbruch.
When Barbies and Nerf guns are all the craze at age 4, I can say with certainty that Sidney is doing pretty darn well.
In a controversial era for law enforcement, not every cop has been a bad egg. Among them is the police force of El Segundo, who helped raise funds for a robbed teen. Latest to join the club is Indiana cop Richard Mayer, who spent his first lunch as a cop saving a toddler.
“I looked over and she started gagging. I could see something kind of in the back of her throat, mistakenly reached in to try to grab it out, I think that pushed it back into her throat,” Hasse recalled.
The heroic cop was lunching with colleagues at Chick-fil-A when the frenzied mother approached their table. Hasse then performed back slaps on the child and dislodged the apple chunk almost immediately.
“This is what he was meant to do,” Hasse said. “To save lives in some kind of way.”
Talk about first-day jitters! Luckily, all Hasse’s efforts paid off.