Last Saturday I enjoyed spending the morning with little Davey (not his real name) as part of the Lansing Police Department's Shop With a Cop program. We had a blast.
I'll admit that I was a little nervous at first. And when Davey's mom told me that he was really quiet and shy I was even more so. But when we loaded up to head out to the Wal-Mart, Davey began to loosen up. And why not. We were in line with over seventy-five police vehicles with sirens blaring and lights blazing - every little kid's dream parade! Davey and his brother rode in back while I rode shotgun with Officer George doing the driving. Questions and squeals of delight came from the back seat as motorcycle cops raced ahead to block the intersections between us and the Wal-Mart.
When we arrived Davey and I got in line to get his picture taken with Santa. We had to wait a while, but he was patient, if a little fidgety. When Santa and Mrs. Claus asked him what he wanted for Christmas he wrinkled up his nose and thought really hard before answering. I leaned in to listen but missed his reply. Then he hopped down, grabbed the cart and we headed off to the toy aisle.
Because of the generosity of the program's benefactors, each child was allowed to spend $100. the next hour was a test of my math skills and Davey's shopping prowess as toys went in and out of the cart faster than shoppers through a revolving door. Davey finally settled on a couple of GI Joe vehicles and a Star Wars storm trooper helmet and blaster. He remembered to get a gift for his mom, and his brother and sister, too.
When we headed to the cash registers to check out, he had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. After a meal at Subway, we headed our separate ways.
Hopefully Davey will have a Merry Christmas. Because of the generosity of the LPD and the supporters of this program, over 90 children will have a brighter holiday. And, if any of the officers are like this police chaplain, I know their Christmas will be brighter, too.