When cops in Texas signaled for a woman to to pull over, it’s fair to assume that the driver expected a telling-off. Maybe even a stern word and a traffic ticket, if she was unlucky. But then one of the policemen handed the woman something that caught her totally off guard. It was so unexpected, in fact, that it left her driving away in tears.
Getting pulled over by the cops is something no one wants to happen. The realization that you may have violated a traffic law can be an unnerving experience. What’s more, it often feels like a lifetime while you wait for the officer to exit his car and approach your own.
No time is a good time to be stopped by the authorities, then, but some periods are definitely more inconvenient than others. Like the lead-up to Thanksgiving, for example, as people hurry around getting ready for their celebrations. Most drivers would probably cite that part of the year as particularly bad timing.
Nevertheless, the cops have got a job to do and, regardless of what day it is, if you break the law, you can expect to be punished. In this spirit, the run-up to Thanksgiving is likely just another period for police departments around the U.S. That said, Laredo Police Department in Texas still decided that the lead-in to Thanksgiving was an ideal time to film themselves in action.
As a result, police officers in Laredo shot some video showing the aftermath of various violations. And the resulting footage made for some very interesting viewing. The film shows one particular woman who ends up in tears, as well as several others who all display very similar reactions. The footage begins in each case as you would expect. Officers have pulled over motorists that they suspect of violating traffic laws and are carrying out the necessary license checks.
Although it isn’t made clear what each motorist has done, the video shows the drivers waiting patiently to discover their fate. Both the police officers and the drivers appear calm, and there’s no hint that these stops are anything other than routine.
However, these drivers are in for a massive shock. That’s because the traffic stops that the Laredo cops are carrying out in the video are no ordinary ones. In fact they’re so decidedly extraordinary that the pulled-over motorists end up driving away lost for words. That’s because each motorist is handed a special something to accompany them on their way.
The clip opens with one of the police officers handing a woman driver her documentation through the car’s open window. As she gathers her paperwork, the camera pans over to her male companion in the passenger seat. The man grins and offers a wave, presumably relieved that they are being allowed to continue on their way. But then something suddenly veers into view, reflected in the car’s half-open window.
“How you doing?” a voice says, as the woman, visibly stunned, covers her face with her hands. It then becomes apparent what the object reflecting in the window is. As the woman lowers her arms, a turkey is passed through the car window. “Thank you, God bless you guys,” she says, while crossing herself. “Oh my God, oh my God, thank you very much. You guys are great!”
One of the officers who filmed the touching moment subsequently uploaded it to YouTube and the force’s Facebook page. What’s more, the moving clip doesn’t just show that one particular woman’s reaction but also many others. The three-minute film is a heartwarming snapshot of the joy that officers brought to people on that November day in 2017.
One motorist featured in the clip can’t quite believe that the officers could be so kind. In fact, so apparently taken aback was he that he even questioned the cops to double-check they were serious before thanking them. Another woman embraces the officers before saying, “God bless you. Have a good time with your family.”
It turns out that the big turkey giveaway was part of Operation Peacemaker, a nonprofit started by police officers in the Laredo area that aims to raise money for fellow officers enduring financial hardship. And as part of the initiative, six days before Thanksgiving in 2017, local officers handed over 25 turkeys to members of the public who had committed traffic violations.
And on the department’s Facebook page, Laredo PD expanded on the thinking behind their random acts of kindness. “The plan was to conduct actual traffic stops on persons who had actually committed traffic violations,” the post read. “But instead of handing them a citation, the officers handed them a written warning and then happily presented them with their very own Thanksgiving turkey.”
“The reactions were varied in the sense that the unsuspecting citizens could not believe they were getting turkeys instead of citations,” the statement continued. “Many of the citizens wept and thanked the officers for their turkeys.”
Meanwhile, the group also posted the story on Operation Peacemaker’s Facebook page. The following note accompanied it, “A small way for us to say thank you to our community for all of your support. Honored to serve you all.”
In the video footage it’s clear that all those gifted with a turkey were indebted to the officers, with most recipients quick to thank the officers for such a timely gift. However, their grateful reactions were in sharp contrast to a small section of the community. Indeed, a handful of Laredo locals added some barbed comments to the police department’s post.
One user going by the name of Bella Rose was clearly skeptical of the scheme. “Wow, I understand LPD gesture & I applaud the very good deed, but it just sends out a wrong message,” she commented. “It is encouraging wrongdoing.”
But another user, Kim Romero, disagreed and said, “Good job, Laredo Police department. It’s great to see police officers doing great things for the community.” User Cindy Gonzalez concurred with those sentiments. “That’s awesome!!! So proud of you guys,” she posted.
Jessica Durrance, meanwhile, seemed a little peeved that she’d missed out on one of the free fowls. “This was a kind gesture, but maybe instead of actual violators they should have stopped random people instead,” she offered. Anthony Guerra just seemed desperate. “I’ll be passing red lights by the Southside in case you want to pull me over,” he joked.
Despite the mixed opinions, though, Laredo police chief Claudio Treviño applauded the gesture. “That commitment to the betterment and service to our community is what makes me proudest to be the head of such a dedicated and compassionate group of officers,” he said.