May 14-20 is National Police week. During this week we thank the heroes that are still serving our cities and the officers that worked most of their lives and have retired. We remember the fallen, who have died in action, off duty or by taking their own lives.
These brave men and women who put on a vest, strap on a duty belt and protect and serve our cities are not robots. They are considerate, strong and caring people.
Before working at 7-Eleven I never had the pleasure of being around a lot of police officers, unless I was getting pulled over. My fault though, when I was younger I had a lead foot and bad habit not caring my car insurance with me. After I began working at 7-Eleven I got a whole new look at these amazing men and women. Every officer I met was kind, funny, quick with a joke or story. And believe me, I always asked for a story if the officer had time. I started at a store that a lot of officers would frequent and made, what I considered, great work friends even if I didn’t actually work with them. The store that I was at was literally right down the street from the Hefner division of the Oklahoma Police Department. I would have 4 to 5 officers in during the night, a couple would stay for a bit to talk or eat their lunch before returning to patrol. About 9 months of working at that store, I was transferred to a store that was so far out of the way, as out of the way can be. I rarely got the pleasure of talking to an officer unless I had to call for something.
Until one night that I had a beer run (where someone comes in grabs some beer and leaves without paying). I called 911, explained what had happen, gave the best information that I could. About an hour later, I got a call. It was Officer Peery. I got so excited and said “Chad!” He sounded baffled until I explained who I was and why he would know me. He took the information that he needed for his report then asked if the store location I was at was where I had been hiding. I said yes and we talked for a couple of minutes before he received another call.
About a week after this I got another surprise. Officer Peery came to see me. We talked, I asked what he was doing “out here in the middle of nowhere.” To which he answered, “I came to see how you were doing.” That kind of sealed the deal for me. I was in awe at how someone would take the much time to come see me. After that it became a once a week visit from Officer Peery, to check on me and make sure everything was okay. More and more officers started to stop by to say hi and see how things were going. I was moved to say the least. These men and women went out if their way to come to a store to see me, at a store that was at the very far end of their jurisdiction.
It was an incredibly humbling experience. These men and women weren’t just officers, they were people. I have seen these amazing men and women laugh, cry and get angry. I have seen people who are strong and vulnerable. These incredible people go through all of the same motions that we all do, the only difference between them and us? They wear a badge.
Thank a police officer, not just this week, but all the time for the hard work that they do to make sure that we are safe and taken care of.