Two acts of kindness from Calgary police officers have given two families a bit of extra joy this holiday season.
In one instance, officers personally touched by a family's tragedy made a plan to help everyone feel better. In another, a group of officers spontaneously decided to "pay it forward" for a large family having a holiday meal at the Blackfoot Truckstop Diner.
Both incidents were posted to the Calgary Police Service's Facebook page and are creating a warm social media buzz during this season of giving.
Both families' names are being kept confidential.
Here's the Christmas morning post from one grateful mom:
"I want to share with you the kindness of some of your officers.
On Christmas Day my husband and I decided to take our 6 kids and my mother in law out for breakfast at the Blackfoot Truck Stop.
We are a big group whenever we go out, and it's always pricey taking out so many people for a meal. But it was Christmas so we wanted to make it special. Everyone ordered what the wanted and the bill kept growing.
At the end, the kids were eager to get home so we could continue our Christmas fun. We asked our waitress for our bill. She quietly said, 'Your bill has been taken care of.' We sat in disbelief, processing what we heard. 'Someone wanted to pay for you' we were told.
My husband asked who it was. 'That table of police officers over there.'
Tears filled some eyes at the generosity and kindness of those officers. Our kids had noticed them and [had] been watching them during the meal, noticing their cool handcuffs on their belts and so on.
Our family now has a whole new love and respect for the good people working hard to keep our city safe. So to those good officers, we thank you and respect you! Thank you for spreading Christmas cheer while away from your own families, and giving our family a Christmas to remember!"
The second incident involved the family of a man killed in a workplace accident in October. His name was not made public at that time and the family's name is still being kept private.
Here's how the Calgary Police Service described the events in a Dec. 25 Facebook post:
"In October 2019, officers from District 4 were given the heartbreaking task of notifying a young mother and her four children that their husband/father and had died in a workplace accident," the post begins.
"He provided the sole income and was the patriarch of the family.
During their visit, CPS members learned that the children had very few toys to play with. A plan was formulated to try and salvage a merry Christmas for this family during a very challenging time.
Members of District 4 … worked hard to put together a number of gifts and surprised the family on Christmas morning.
We could never fill the void left by this awful tragedy, but we were able to give this family something to smile about on Christmas day!"
Constable Duke Maodus and Constable Krista Park, seen in the main photo, visited the home to personally deliver the gifts on Christmas morning.
Both stories seem to be warming the hearts of Calgarians, with each post shared nearly 300 times.
Do you know of someone going to extraordinary lengths to help others over the holidays? Share the story with CBC Calgary in the comments below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.