By Darren Smith, weekend contributor
I thought I would make a suggestion for those who would like to bring a debt of gratitude that we might owe to our local police officers for the very difficult years. Perhaps each of you could even consider paying anonymously for coffee or lunch for a police officer serving your community in 2021. It might be a few dollars, but I can assure you that it will make your shift a little more comfortable – that someone looked after it and was grateful.
It goes without saying that in many parts of the United States, police, sheriffs, and state forces have faced great unjustified or unnecessary difficulties due to political and social trends. While not widespread, it has certainly helped make the job more difficult and less enjoyable for many. The same officers nonetheless came to work, answering service requests, and trying to make the most of a stormy environment. Personally, I haven’t seen it as bad for the police since the early 1980s and 1970s. If we want to work for a better acceptance of other people, it is time to make peace with the past and at least try some form of reconciliation if necessary.
I understand that the culture in some areas of the United States is that police officers often receive their meals or coffee as tips from the owner. But this is rather unusual elsewhere. There are departments that do not allow their employees to knowingly accept discounted meals. Admittedly, I was on the fence about whether a simple cup of coffee or a reduced lunch really meant a reduction in one’s own duty. This is primarily based on the belief that a free coffee today might enforce a warning rather than a ticket for speeding later. But what harm can it do if you just buy someone a Coke every now and then? After pondering whether I should propose this idea to you to the reader, I believe that a balance can be struck by showing your support for the police by buying the coffee anonymously, with no conditions whatsoever.
What I’m suggesting is pretty easy to show, thanks. If you are in a restaurant and you are at the cash register to pay for your dinner, if you see an officer or two over lunch or coffee, inform the person at the cash register that you want to pay for MEPs’ meals anonymously. This may be easier if you have already ordered and you know the invoice. Such a gift will certainly come as a welcome surprise to the officials, especially given that one person thought enough about their service to buy them lunch. The officers may leave an extra tip for the waiter as they may be a little more comfortable with this payment method. (For you at work you know what i mean)
It would certainly be virtuous to buy coffee in some form as a thank you, but I think I have to reiterate that the thanks would be better expressed if made anonymously. Nothing is expected and there is little to contend with. It can just be a nice touch without the pretext. And when you are familiar with certain parables or scriptures it is kind to offer praise or gratitude, but it is of a greater virtue to do so without telling others that you did it.
If you could see it for yourself thanking those who wear the badge at least once in 2021, I can assure you that it will be both welcome and appreciated.
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