New Jersey girl buys dinner for police officer

Mikala and Mimi Raji/CNN

MONROE, New Jersey (CNN) — A young girl in New Jersey offered to pay the tab for a police officer’s dinner as a way to pay it forward.

8-year-old Mikala Raji lost her own father in the line of duty in 2008. Perth Amboy police officer Thomas Raji was hit and killed by a drunk driver just a couple of months before Mikala was born.

One evening, Mikala was eating with her mom at one of her dad’s favorite restaurants, Villa Borghese. That’s when she saw a police officer walk in to get some dinner.

“The police officer came in, I said, ‘hello,’ and then we had a little, tiny conversation,” Mikala said. “And then I whispered to mom to buy his dinner, so we paid for his dinner.”

Her mom, Mimi, says her daughter has always been drawn to police officers.

“She’s very open and receptive to law enforcement,” Mimi said. “She’s see them and her eyes light up. And I love that.”

So, she and her mom bought dinner for Jamesburg Police officer Joseph Quinn, who they’d never met before.

“Because, he works hard every day and he keeps us all safe,” Mikala said.

The Jamesburg Police Department soon learned about Mikala’s kind act.

“When we found out about that, it just touched us all,” Jamesburg Police Chief James Craparotta said.

Now, the department is giving back to Mikala, setting up a Gofundme page for her education. They also asked her to lead the upcoming Memorial Day parade. Mikala accepted the invitation.

“She has a big heart, so I wasn’t surprised by her actions,” Mimi said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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