MONROE — It seemed like a nice enough gesture, but no one had particularly lofty expectations.
A Monroe police officer was waiting for a child at a Shop-With-a-Cop holiday event Wednesday evening when a stranger approached him at Walmart to say he wanted to donate.
Two other people made donations that night totalling $56. They knew Shop With a Cop makes the holidays a bit cheerier for needy children who get to explore the store with a police officer and pick out presents.
The man didn’t make a donation Wednesday night, but he walked into the police station on Main Street early Thursday morning.
Sgt. Cindy Chessie, who’s president of the nonprofit Monroe Police Officers Association, was asked to meet with him in the lobby. Perhaps, she thought, he’ll give $100.
“That would be big for us,” she said.
The middle-aged man in jeans and a jacket reached into a pocket and pulled out a stack of money in a rubber band. He placed $10,000 in $100 bills on the table and asked for a receipt.
“I was in disbelief at first and then I was overwhelmed,” Chessie said. “I know I got a little teary-eyed and I know I got a little shaky. I couldn’t believe his generosity.”
The man told her: “I want this to go to kids. I know you will do right. I know you will make the right decision.”
Chessie believes the man had happened by the Shop-With-a-Cop event. Every year, the police help local youngsters pick out gifts for Christmas. There were 15 officers in the store Wednesday night, helping 14 children ages 4 to 15.
The next morning, he told Chessie: “I saw what you guys are doing last night and I know what you are doing in the community.”
That’s when he pulled out the money.
Chessie told the man he can come in whenever he wants to review the books to see how the money is spent.
“I trust you,” he told her.
He was not looking for public recognition, she said.
The money was deposited in a bank later in the morning.
Over the years, the police association has supported many local causes, including a city-sponsored Easter egg hunt, Shop With a Cop, Leukemia Cup, soccer camp, a senior center parade breakfast, Sky Valley Little League, Sky Valley Food Bank and scholarships for high school students. It also has aided children with serious medical conditions and a family whose child drowned.
Chessie knows the money will do some good.
“I haven’t stopped smiling,” said Chessie, who in 25 years on the force can’t remember such an unexpected act of generosity. “I just think of all of the wonderful things we are going to be able to do for the youth of Monroe.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.