Police officers in the small North Texas town of Pelican Bay were busy pulling over drivers all day on Christmas, but they were acting more like Santa Claus than traffic law enforcers. Instead of issuing speeding tickets, the officers were sharing a little Christmas cheer and passing out gift cards, according to a report by CBS-Dallas/Fort Worth.
After weeks of news reports about protests after police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York, the Pelican Bay Police Department wanted to spread a little goodwill in the community, and purchased gift cards to hand out to drivers. “Today we get to show that the police department does have a heart.” said Officer Matthew Thomas. “We’re all normal people.”
The CBS report showed that drivers were shocked and then overjoyed when they realized that they were not only not getting a ticket, but were getting a present. Many hugged the officer giving them a gift card.
“This is actually something that we needed, a lot,” said area resident Derrick Henburg. “Definitely, the Christmas spirit is in full effect.”
Another recipient of a gift card, Debra Golliday, had had to work on Christmas and told reporters that her stressful day had threatened to ruin her Christmas spirit. “But y’all just lifted it right back up,” she said to Officer Thomas. “Thank you!”
“Maybe someone will pay it forward to a neighbor or a fellow family member that they know is having a hard time,” said Officer Thomas.
The money for the gift cards was raised by the Pelican Bay Police Department and the Briar Fire Department.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.