HOMESTEAD, Penn. – By Kim Rogers - Staff
A group of police officers eating at a restaurant in Homestead, Pennsylvania, paid a couple’s bill after the pair made a point not to sit next to the officers on Saturday.
WTAE-TV reported that the officers were seated and waiting for their meal when the couple entered the restaurant. According to Eat N’ Park server Jesse Meyers, the man looked at one of the officers and said: “Nah, I don’t want to sit here.” They were then seated on the opposite side of the restaurant.
Officer Chuck Thomas saw the incident as an opportunity to improve the relationship between the community and police officers following the shooting in Dallas that left five officers dead.
“Tensions in the community were tight. A lot of people were coming up to us and shaking our hands and thanking us, but you could just feel tight air through the community,” Thomas said.
He and another officer decided to foot the couple’s $28.50 bill, plus tip, as a way to break down walls.
“Essentially the whole goal of it was to let him know that we’re not here to hurt you, we’re not here for that," Thomas said. "We’re here for you. We work for the public.”
The officers left a message on the receipt: “Sir, your check was paid for by the police officers that you didn't want to sit next to. Thank you for your support. I left a $10 tip too."
"It just dawned on me, I should do this real quick just to show this guy, 'Look, I don’t know if you had bad experience with the police in the past -- you may have, you may have not -- but I just want you to know I never had an experience with you and I’m not here to do anything to you. And neither will my partners,'" Thomas said.