MONROE, NJ (WABC/CNN) – A young girl in New Jersey whose police officer father died in the line of duty offered to pay the tab for another officer’s dinner as a way to pay it forward.
Mikayla Raji, 8, asked her mom one night if she could pay for a police officer’s dinner.
“The police officer came in. I said, ‘Hello,’ and then we had a little, tiny conversation. Then I whispered to mom to buy his dinner, so we paid for his dinner,” Mikayla said.
The girl and her mother, Mimi Raji, were visiting a restaurant in Helmetta, NJ, where her dad was a regular before his death.
Only a couple of months before Mikayla was born, her father, Perth Amboy police officer Thomas Raji, was hit and killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver.
“She’s very open and receptive to law enforcement. She sees them and her eyes light up, and I love that,” Mimi Raji said.
Mikayla’s mother is a retired police officer herself. Her husband was the love of her life.
Now, Mikayla’s heart is bonded to the men and women in blue. That’s why she bought dinner for Jamesburg police officer Joseph Quinn, whom the 8-year-old had never met before.
“Because he works hard every day, and he keeps us all safe,” Mikayla said.
After dinner, Quinn employed a little detective work to find the little angel. Now, Jamesburg Police have embraced Mikayla, setting up a GoFundMe page for her future education.
“When we found out about that, it just touched us all,” Chief James Craparotta said.
A circle of kindness and respect has formed.
“She has a big heart, so I wasn’t surprised by her actions,” Mikayla’s mother said.
Chief Craparotta asked Mikayla to lead next month’s Memorial Day parade, and she accepted.
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