He wasn’t giving her a ticket but taking her beverage order as he waited on tables at Texas Roadhouse, 2422 Naglee Road, during a Tip a Cop fundraiser for the Northern California Special Olympics on Monday, May 20.
“I’ve never been waited on by a police officer, except when I was young and got a ticket,” Peterson said, ordering a glass of root beer. “I think it’s wonderful — the Special Olympics need all the donations they can get.”
Tracy Police Department officers took on the role of servers at the restaurant for the fundraising lunch.
Everyone who went to Texas Roadhouse between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. received a free lunch — a pulled-pork sandwich, steak fries, bread and a nonalcoholic drink. All tips left by diners at their tables were tallied and given to the Special Olympics.
Special Olympics provides competitive athletic opportunities to adults and children with mental disabilities. The Northern California Special Olympics covers from the Oregon border to Tulare and Monterey counties.
Lt. Mark Duxbury, Sgts. Tony Sheneman and Luis Mejia and officers Brian Wilmshurst and Contreras hustled between the kitchen and dining room with trays of drinks and sandwiches.
“It’s like learning a new job — I was out of my element,” Contreras said. “It was fun, a new experience, and I have a greater appreciation for servers.”
Contreras said he took some good-natured ribbing from other police officers who dropped by to eat, but “it was all in fun.”
Heather Quillen, from Texas Roadhouse’s marketing department, said all of the restaurant employees working the lunch were volunteering to raise money for Special Olympics and support the officers in their serving role.
“They have been outstanding — they have jumped right in,” Quillen said as she watched officers take lunch orders. “The staff has given them a little help, but it is fun to see their co-workers giving them support.”
Contreras said more than 150 people stopped in for lunch, donating $2,435 in tips to Special Olympics.
“We’re very excited to partner with the police department,” Quillen said. “It will help provide wonderful opportunities for men, women and children to participate in the competitions at the Special Olympics. It’s very important to support the community and Special Olympics.”
Tracy police will help the Northern California Special Olympics again June 21 as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
About a dozen officers will carry a torch on a 26-mile leg from the Tracy police station, 1000 Civic Center Drive, over the Altamont Hills along Patterson Pass Road to the Livermore Police Department, the longest leg of the torch relay.
The torch leaves Tulare on June 14 and arrives in Dixon on June 27.
Correctional officers from Deuel Vocational Institution, the state prison on Kasson Road, will hand off the torch to Tracy police early June 21.
The Northern California Special Olympics starts with opening ceremonies June 28 at University of California, Davis. During the three-day event, 16,041 athletes will compete in 152 competitions.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.