An Alabama sheriff's deputy received a random act of kindness that he says will stay with him forever.
Lee County Deputy Manuel Stone was eating lunch alone in uniform Tuesday when three young women handed him a note. They asked him not to open it until they walked away.
“So they left, and I opened it. The note says: 'We have paid for your meal. Thank you for your service to our community.' It made me feel really good. I still get a little teary-eyed,” Stone told WRBL.
Stone keeps the note in his patrol car, glad to have a memento of the support he receives from his community. He credits the training local police officers and deputies receive, and the respectful way they interact with the public.
"It means so much; more than anyone will ever know," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said of community support, noting that the note Stone received was especially welcome.
“It’s fascinating how a simple piece of paper can be transformed into what our peace officers consider a priceless document, when the words of a youngster are applied in support of us,” Jones said.
Stone said the fact that it was a gesture from teenagers meant a great deal.
As a father of three, it was a sign of how much he connects with his community, particularly during a time when race relations in America are so tense, and there is a push nationally to defund police departments.
“I’m literally in the middle. I am white, I am black, and I’m police. I am smack dab in the middle, so I am connected and have experiences on all three sides,” Stone said. “We hear about so much negative. I want to share the positives on all sides. We need more of that.”
“I love serving people, I love protecting people, and I love the community I live in.”