Noah Cantin penned a note to Officer Benitez after covering the cost of his breakfast. Spotting a police officer enjoying a meal at Denny’s, nine-year-old Noah sought permission from his mother, Amanda Cantin, to settle the officer’s bill. Grateful for the officer’s service, Noah expressed his admiration in a heartfelt message on the receipt: “I aspire to be like you when I grow up.
Thank you for your service.” Officer Eddie Benitez was deeply moved and touched by the thoughtful gesture from the young boy.
Noah Smiling, just having received some pocket money for his ninth birthday, decided to use it for a selfless act. At the time, he was eight (turning nine in a few days) and, on “Bring Your Child to Work Day,” was having breakfast with his mother, Amanda Cantin, at Denny’s in Lakeland, Florida.
Noticing a police officer dining there, the aspiring future officer was eager to approach him but was unsure of what to say. Seeking guidance from Cantin, he proposed the idea of using his pocket money to cover the officer’s breakfast. With her approval, they together crafted a note on the receipt, expressing Noah’s admiration: “I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service.”
“I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service. — Noah Smiling.” (LakelandPD/Facebook)
Officer Eddie Benitez was both shocked and deeply moved by Noah’s thoughtful gesture. Reflecting on the impact, he shared with WTSP News, “It meant everything. It meant that I’m supposed to wake up every morning, put on his uniform, and go out there and do what I do. You know? It means that I need to keep trying to be a good example to all these young guys.”
Touched by the encounter, Officer Benitez requested a photo with Noah, and the Lakeland Police Department later shared the heartwarming moment on their Facebook page.
“Your support means so much to all of the men and women who put on the uniform every day,” expressed the Lakeland Police Department on their Facebook page.
Officer Benitez, deeply moved by Noah’s gesture, now keeps the heartfelt note in the front pocket of his uniform. He shared, “I’ve got it right here, ’cause I’m going to keep it as long as I can.”