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.