After stopping at her lemonade stand, an Ohio sheriff’s deputy gave a 9-year-old a special surprise that she will never forget.
According to Yahoo! News, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Zach Ropos was on patrol in Painesville, Ohio, when he made a quick stop at a lemonade stand run by 9-year-old Gabrielle.
“I see a little girl come running up to my police car,” said Ropos, 22. “She hands me a glass, I hand her a few bucks. I asked her what she wanted to do with the money … she said she’d get an iPad, to help with school and play games.”
Deputy Ropos, admiring the girl’s work ethic, told her mother that he had an old iPad sitting at home that he wanted to bring to Gabrielle. However, when he went to make sure it still worked, he was disappointed.
“I went home that night, fired up the iPad, but it just wasn’t updated anymore … nothing really worked on it,” the officer said.
The following day, Deputy Ropos went to a local store and asked if they would be willing to chip in toward a tablet for Gabrielle with him. Later that day, he met up with Gabrielle and her mother.
“I talked to the little girl, gave her a speech about how courageous and admirable I think her efforts were to save up her money. I asked her how much she saved up and she said she only had a few dollars,” Ropos said.
Gabrielle explained to the officer that her mother had run out of gas while driving, so she gave her some of the money she had saved up from the lemonade stand to fill up her tank.
“When she told me she gave the money to her mom … that’s when I almost started crying because of how great of a kid she really was,” the officer said.
Hearing what Gabrielle did for her mother made what Ropos was about to do even sweeter — he handed her a brand new tablet, in a moment captured on camera by Ropos’ co-worker. Gabrielle was thrilled.
Deputy Ropos said of the 9-year-old, “She just wouldn’t stop hugging me,” adding, “Seeing her face is how I remember Christmas when I was 5 years old. She couldn’t stop smiling. Her smile was worth a million dollars.”
Readers shared their thoughts on the touching story on the Mad World News Facebook page.
“Outstanding compassion by this dedicated officer, more of these thoughtful stories should be circulated, well done,” one reader commented.
“May God Bless this Officer for being so kind to this little girl,” another user wrote. “Thank you for Deputy Ropos service in the police department.”
Deputy Ropos said he’s worked at the sheriff’s office for eight months. His boss, Lake County Sheriff Dan Dunlap, told ABC News Today, “He’s always liked to do stuff for people, and now it’s part of his job.”
“He’s a really good guy,” Dunlap added of Ropos. “He’s done such a good job here.”
Dunlap said he always tells graduating classes, “If you pass a kid’s lemonade stand, buy a lemonade. You don’t have to drink it. If you see an old person’s garden, acknowledge it. There’s plenty of chances in police work to be kind. [Deputy Ropos] took it the extra step.”
“It’s not as though this is the first time something has happened,” Dunlap said, citing when two deputies bought a child a bike several months ago. “And you’re really not supposed to brag about your good deeds. But there’s been so much negativity about law enforcement … that a sergeant on his shift heard about what was going on and decided to take a picture.”
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