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The message completely changed one police officer’s life.

There is an expression that says that “you should never meet your heroes.” This can be true for some people who look up to celebrities or entrepreneurs whose public image doesn’t match their true character.

However, one young boy recently met his hero — and the man didn’t disappoint! 

What a Little Boy Did When He Saw His Real Life Hero

two people eating brunch
Photo by Helena Lopes

Noah Smiling was eating breakfast at a restaurant with his mother on Bring Your Child To Work Day when he saw a man, Officer Eddie Benitez, dressed in a police uniform dining at the same place. He was immediately in awe.

Instead of being obsessed with dinosaurs or superheroes growing up, Noah had always been into policemen. He loved the men in blue and looked up to them and everything they did for the community.

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After seeing the officer up close, Noah decided he had to say something — he wanted to tell the man what his profession meant to young boys like him. 

Noah didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do for the officer. His mother had recently given him some pocket money, so he decided to ask her if he could use it to pay for Eddie’s breakfast. She agreed, and so he did just that.

Noah covered Eddie’s $8 bill, and with his mother’s help, added a meaningful note onto the receipt. 

“I want to be you when I grow up – Thank you for your service.”

Noah served Eddie his food and handed him the note directly. Eddie was speechless. A few simple words had moved him tremendously, letting him know that his work and life had an impact far beyond what he saw every day. 

“It meant that I’m supposed to wake up every morning and put on this 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,” Eddie said.

The Impact One Police Officer Had on a Little Boy

little boy wearing a police costume and holding a dog
Photo by Katya Wolf

Eddie graciously accepted the meal and note from Noah, and the two took a selfie together. They were both delighted to be creating a memory that would last forever.

The Lakeland Police District where Eddie worked shared the photo on Facebook, where it went viral.

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Benitez also kept Noah’s note in the pocket of his uniform as a daily reminder of the good example policemen and women are supposed to show their communities. 

Law enforcement officers everywhere want to inspire little boys and girls like Noah to grow up, do good, and protect & serve. Little did Noah know that his act of kindness would continue to inspire his mentor every day.  What an inspiring duo!

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