HOMESTEAD, Pa. (MEDIA GENERAL) – A Pennsylvania police officer is receiving kudos for his attempt to shore up local police-public relations.
Last week, Officer Chuck Thomas was eating dinner with three other officers at a local restaurant. When a server tried to seat a couple at the booth next to them, one of the patrons asked to be seated somewhere else, away from the officers.
Homestead Police Sgt. John Kaschauer, who was a part of the group, told KDKA, “I heard talk, and I looked over, and there was a couple coming into the restaurant, and they made it quite clear they didn’t want to sit near us. They were quite adamant.”
Thomas told WTAE that stuff like this happens “all the time,” but following the incidents last week in Dallas, Louisiana and Minnesota, he decided to reach out to the patrons.
“I sat there a while and dwelled on it, finished my meal. And (another officer) thought, ‘well, we should pay his tab,’” Thomas said.
Thomas paid for the couple’s dinner, totaling $38.58 including the tip. He also left a note that said, “Sir, your check was paid for by the police officers that you didn’t want to sit next to. Thank you for your support.”
Thomas posted a photo of the check to Facebook.
“Essentially, the whole goal of it was to let him know we’re not here to hurt you. We’re not here for that,” Thomas said. “We’re here for you. We work for the public. We just want to have a better relationship between the community and the police.”
The patrons reportedly thanked the officers for paying the tab as the officers were leaving.