A mystery Santa is spreading Christmas cheer in Arlington, Texas, surprising a police officer with an unexpected gift. Now that officer is paying it forward and helping a family in need.
Lt. Chris Cook was patrolling the parking lots at the Arlington Highlands shopping center Sunday, when a woman walked up to his car.
“She said 'I hope I’m not startling you,'” said Cook. “I hear her out of the blue and I turn around and look – and the object comes flying in my car.”
That object was a $100 bill she slipped through the window.
“And she says 'Merry Christmas!'” said Cook. “'We pray for you daily.'”
Before Cook could react, the woman got into an SUV and drove away.
“You know, I’ve been in law enforcement for 20 years and never experienced anything like that,” said Cook.
Arlington police policy bars officers from accepting cash or other monetary gifts. But when situations like this arise, officers are allowed to donate that money to someone else.
Fortunately for Cook, he quickly found the perfect candidate. A family left a post on the department’s Facebook page saying they’d recently been robbed and lost all the money they’d saved up for Christmas.
“[The money] is going to go to good use,” said Cook. “We’re going to give it to a family in need.”
As for the mystery Santa, Cook has no clue who or where she is.
“There’s people out there that just genuinely care,” said Cook.
But if he ever does run into her again, he says the first thing he’ll do is give her a big hug.
“That’s what I would tell her – thank you so much,” said Cook. “You didn’t just impact my life.”