Mom thanks Pasco police officer for making her son’s Christmas

Mom thanks Pasco police officer for making her son’s Christmas
Photo courtesy: Sherri Miller

A Pasco police officer’s quiet act of kindness is getting a big, public thanks from a local mother who credits him for showing her 8-year-old son what Christmas is all about.

Sherri Miller said Officer Saul Mendoza met her son Kyler about a week before Christmas while responding a domestic situation involving his older sister. As police were helping the family, the boy mentioned he wanted to be a professional football player.

Officer Mendoza joked that he used to play “real football” – referring to soccer. He played semiprofessionally for the Spokane Shadow before deciding to leave the sport for law enforcement.

The boy asked for his autograph so, before he left, Officer Mendoza promised to eventually bring back a signed soccer ball.

On Christmas morning, Officer Mendoza showed up to the boy’s home with a brand new yellow ball with the words “Dream big!” handwritten next to his autograph. He explained to the boy that if he wanted to become a professional athlete or doctor or biologist or whatever else, he could do so by putting his mind to it.

He also told the boy how soccer led him to go to college, which gave him the tools he needed to achieve his dream.

“I played 30 years of soccer, and this is what it got me,” Mendoza told the boy while pointing to his badge. “Education and a career.”

Posted by Sherri Miller on Sunday, 31 December 2017

On the phone, Officer Mendoza told KAPP-KVEW he was inspired to become a police officer after getting a similar speech when he was 10 years old.

He said he was raised by a single mother of seven who didn’t have a lot of money to spend on toys. One day, he decided to steal an action figure from a store and got caught.

The officer who caught him said he could do anything he put his mind to by going to school and working hard, but that stealing would always get him caught.

“It really affected me as a kid,” Mendoza said. “I learned my lesson.”

Twenty years later, he turned down a chance to become a professional soccer player and joined the Pasco Police Department.

According to Kyler’s mother, her son might have been inspired by Mendoza’s act of kindness in a similar way.

“He now changed his mind on wanting to be a football player to becoming an officer who helps people like Mendoza did for his sister!” Miller said.

Pasco Police shared Miller’s version of the story on Facebook and wrote that “it’s not every day that we get to make a little boy’s Christmas, and hopefully impact him for years to come.”

In the post, police thanked Miller back for taking the time to share how the officer’s thoughtfulness meant so much to her family.