One New Jersey girl knows all too well the sacrifices police officers are prepared to make while serving their communities since her own father was killed while on duty before she was even born.
“Mikayla’s father, Thomas Raji was a police officer in Perth Amboy, and was tragically killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver,” the Jamesburg Police Department explained. Tragically, Mikayla Raji, 8, never got to meet her father since she was born seven months after he was killed, but has always admired what he and other cops do for others. “Mikayla has a special place in her heart for Police officers.”
So when Raji spotted a cop walk into the restaurant where she was eating dinner with her mom Mimi Jimenez-Raji, a retired police officer, she asked if they could buy him dinner to show their appreciation. “He engaged in conversation with the little girl [and] unbeknownst to him, the little girl wanted to buy him dinner,” Chief James Craparotta said. “Mom agreed, and quietly went and paid for the dinner without the officer knowing.”
“When he went to pay for his food, the employees told him that his food was anonymously paid for. Although unnecessary, the gesture is greatly appreciated by all of our officers,” the department explained. Officer Joseph Quinn was so touched by the kind gesture and “through diligent Police work,” he figured out that the eight-year-old was behind it all.
“This was just such a kind gesture by such a sweet little girl, that we felt like we needed to do something to pay-it-forward,” said Craparotta. The next day, the department started a GoFundMe to raise money for Mikayla’s education “I think she’s a pretty good student and I think she’s going to go far,” Craparotta said. The department also invited Mikayla to lead the Memorial Day parade in honor of her father. “She’s real excited about that. She has a great deal of pride that her dad and her mom were both police officers. She supports the police and she’s just feels like we’re a part of her life – it’s part of her family.”
And the officers from the Jamesburg Police Department are happy to be part of her family. “You have an OPEN invitation to stop by Headquarters whenever you want, and this time dinner is on us! Your dad would be so proud of the person you are. If you ever need us for anything, you can guarantee we will be there for you,” the department told Mikayla.
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[Featured image: Facebook/Jamesburg Police Department]