NEW JERSEY (WTXF) - Civilians paying for police officers’ meals is a nice gesture one might see from time to time, but it typically doesn’t involve a little girl as young as 8.
"I wanted to because he deserves respect and kindness," said 8-year-old Mikayla Raja who has found a friend in Jamesburg Police Officer Joseph Quinn. This evening he stopped by her home in Monroe Township to see her. It started last Friday when Mikayla and her mom were having dinner at Villa Borghese. Officer Quinn was there picking up a to-go order and struck up a conversation with Mikayla.
"She had a sports jacket on and I asked her if it was soccer or softball and she said it was softball," said Officer Quinn. After talking for a few minutes Officer Quinn walked away still waiting for his food. That's when Mikayla's mom says her daughter did something she didn't expect.
"Just turned over and whispered in my ear asked me if can we buy him lunch," said Mimi Raja. The pizza shop owner told Officer Quinn someone paid for his lunch but wanted to remain anonymous. So he went back to work and did some investigating and eventually found out who it was. Five days later they met so he could say thank you.
"We did a high five," said Mikayla. While Officer Quinn was tracking down Mikayla he also made a surprising discovery, that Mikayla's mother and father Tommy were Perth Amboy police officers but her father was killed in the line of duty nearly nine years ago. Mikayla's mom was pregnant with her when he was killed.
Mikayla says seeing Officer Quinn and talking to him moved her to do what she did.
"It reminds me a little bit of my father and how he was a police officer," she said.
Officer Quinn calls Mikayla a good spirit.
"Obviously going there that day I crossed paths with Mikayla and myself and Mikayla will be long term friends."
The Jamesburg Police Department has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay for Mikayla's education. It's their way of saying thank you. If you wish to donate, please click here