Kind Policeman Buys A Membership For A Teen Who Kept Breaking Into A Gym

policeman hugging boyby Debbie Gruber

Kindness is all around us. Knowing that gives me much peace and comfort.

Here's a heartwarming story about Chicago police Officer Mario Valenti, who shows such beautiful kindness to 15-year-old Vincent Gonzales:

Vincent, a talented basketball player, used to have a membership to X-Sport Fitness Center in Skokie, Illinois. But, even though his mom could no longer afford the membership, Vincent couldn't keep himself away from the basketball courts. He kept sneaking into the gym to play. He even hid in a bathroom stall to avoid gym employees so he could play his beloved hoops.

basketball and hoop

After numerous warnings, the manager, Justin Pritchett said, "We had no choice but to contact police." 

Officer Valenti was called to the gym, and instead of arresting the teen, he took $150 out of his pocket and asked fitness center workers, "How much membership time that would buy for the boy?" He said, "I'd rather have him playing ball than being on the street and possibly getting into trouble."

His $150 bought almost four months at the gym. X-Sport corporate executives were so taken with the officer's kindness, they wanted to help Vincent too. They extended the four months to a two-year membership, valued at $718. 

X-Sport's offer to add to his $150 gift and give Vincent a two-year membership, exemplifies that "doing a good thing can be contagious," Valenti said. "I see that all the time."

Valenti and Pritchett said they later found out about Vincent's dream of one day becoming an NBA player. He's a very talented player who has received national recognition for his basketball skills.

Officer Valenti said, “At the end of the day, it’s not about gratitude. Most of us took this job to help people, not to hurt them. The job can be negative. For the most part, the job is dealing with good people having a very bad day, so you’re not seeing the best side of people.”

Bravo Officer Valenti. Bravo!

Reminders Of Kindness

I love to be reminded of the love and kindness all around us. And, these fuzzy heart socks remind me every time I look at my feet. 

fuzzy heart socks - shoe sprinkles

Your Turn . . . 

What do you think about what Officer Valenti did for Vincent?

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