When police officer Joseph Quinn recently wanted to pay the tab for his dinner at the Villa Borghese II, an Italian restaurant in Helmetta, New Jersey, he was astonished to find that the bill had already been anonymously taken care of.
Pleasantly surprised, the Jamesburg Police Department and Quinn, managed to find out who was the person behind the generous gesture. What they did not expect was that officer Quinn’s dinner was paid for by 8-year-old Mikayla Raji.
It is here that the story takes another turn, with the policemen finding out that the girl’s father used to work as a police officer for another New Jersey department, Perth Amboy, before he was tragically killed by a drunk driver while on duty in 2008.
Mikayla was not even born when her father, Thomas Raji, passed away, but she keeps a special place in her heart for people wearing the uniform. She and her mother Marisol, who was also serving as a police officer when her husband was killed almost nine years ago, were dining at the Villa Borghese when they spotted officer Quinn. They had a brief friendly conversation before Mikayla asked her mother if they could pay for his order.
After finding out the family’s background, the Jamesburg Police Department got in touch through social media to extend their gratitude.
“On behalf of all the members of the Jamesburg Police Department, we want to thank you for Tommy’s service as well as yours,” the Jamesburg Police Department wrote to Mikayla’s mom Marisol on Facebook. “Mikayla is a great kid, and you should be very proud of her.”
The department also thanked Mikayla, telling her that she had an open invitation for dinner at the Jamesburg police department.
“Your dad would be so proud of the person you are,” they wrote. “If you ever need us for anything, you can guarantee we will be there for you.”
The eight-year-old and her mother have since visited the police headquarters where Mikayla was invited to be a part of this year’s Memorial Day march on the 29th of May.
But the heartwarming story doesn’t end there, with the Jamesburg Police Department setting up a GoFundMe page for Mikayla with a goal to raise $20,000 for her future schooling; in less than a month, the page had raised $13,560.
Check out the video for the full story below!