Chula Vista Police Department officers are keeping a close eye on the community during its Acts of Kindness Campaign.
NBC 7 went along for the ride as Sgt. Tony Molina looked for good deeds worthy of a $50 Walmart gift card.
“I’m looking at a lot of things; people doing some small gestures to help people out,” Molina said. “Making them feel safe is not just about going after the bad but letting them know they can feel safe with their officers, too.”
An anonymous donor gave the department $5,000 in honor of the late Chief Rick Emerson. He served the department for 17 years before retiring in 2006 and died last year. His legacy includes expanding the department and community programs.
There are no rules, the department said, but the idea is to engage with the community in an unexpected way.
Sgt. Molina stopped driver Mark Wolfe after he pulled into a nearby park because he stopped his vehicle to let a family on their bikes cross the street.
“I’m sure you’ve seen the inattention and stuff like that going on so, yeah Mark, we’re doing this Acts of Kindness campaign. Not sure how much you can use it, but we’d love to give you a $50 Walmart gift card,” Molina said while handing over the gift card.
A woman grateful for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s help expressed her gratitude by delivering treats to them.
“It was very unexpected. I don’t know where he came from,” Wolfe said. “It’s just very refreshing.”
Sgt. Molina also stopped Luz Vera while she was pushing her baby in a stroller.
“I noticed you were really paying attention when you were walking through with your baby and you’d be surprised how many people are coming through and they’re not even noticing a car,” Molina said.
“All I can say, it’s unexpected and it’s like at a time when we most need it,” Vera said. “My grandma just passed away.”
Vera’s family is also struggling to pay for the funeral.
“It helps a lot, that’s all I can say,” Vera said.
It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
“I felt really honored to be able to be a happy part of their day,” Molina said. The department recognizes that everyone can use a little help these days, he added.
The campaign officially started Monday and will continue until the gift cards run out. The department hopes this will inspire more donors to keep the Acts of Kindness Campaign going.