Noah Cantin wrote Officer Benitez a note after paying for his breakfast.
Nine-year-old Noah saw a policeman eating breakfast at Denny’s and asked his mother, Amanda Cantin, if he could pay the officer’s bill.
He wrote a note on the receipt that said, “I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service.”
Officer Eddie Benitez was stunned and touched by the boy’s kind gesture.
Noah Smiling had just received some pocket money for his ninth birthday when he decided to spend it on someone else.
The then-eight-year-old (he turned nine a few days later) spotted a police officer at Denny’s in Lakeland, Florida, while eating breakfast with mother Amanda Cantin on “Bring Your Child to Work Day.” He wanted to approach him as an aspiring police officer himself but didn’t know what to say. So he asked Cantin if he could pay for the officer’s breakfast. She agreed and helped him spell out a note on the receipt.
He wrote, “I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service.”
“I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service. — Noah Smiling.”
Officer Eddie Benitez was shocked and deeply touched by Noah’s kind gesture.
“It meant everything,” he told WTSP News. “It meant that I’m supposed to wake up every morning, put on his uniform, and go out there and do what I do. You know? It means that I need to keep trying to be a good example to all these young guys.”
Officer Benitez asked Smiling for a picture, which the Lakeland Police Department shared in a post on their Facebook page.
“Your support means so much to all of the men and women who put on the uniform every day,” they wrote.
Officer Benitez now keeps the note in the front pocket of his uniform.
“I’ve got it right here, ’cause I’m going to keep it as long as I can,” he said.
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