Police Officer Darryl Robinson Pays It Forward By Taking A Boy To Lunch After No One Picked Him Up From School

"I wanted the opportunity to do for another kid what he did for me."

Paying it forward can have a positive impact on someone's life. Just ask Green Bay police officer Darryl Robinson, who responded to a call about an 8-year-old child stranded at school with no one to pick him up by taking that child to McDonald's and treating him to lunch to celebrate his birthday.

The Green Bay Police Department was so impressed with the compassion and dedication to the community shown by one of their own, that they shared Robinson's story on the department's Facebook page on October 24. "Yesterday Officer Robinson responded to a local elementary school for a child that was not picked up at the end of the school day. The parent is incarcerated and there were no other known family contacts. It was also the child's birthday," the post began.

"Thanks to the owners of our local McDonald's, we were given free cheeseburger coupons to hand out in certain situations. Officer Robinson took the child for a meal at McDonald's and a ride around in the police car for his birthday," it continued. "Family was eventually located and the child was dropped off."

The post ends by thanking the local McDonald's and Officer Robinson, who was compelled to go the extra mile and make the boy's birthday a bit more fun thanks to a similar experience he had as a young kid growing up in Green Bay. 

In speaking about his interaction with the young boy to BuzzFeed News, Robinson recalled meeting an individual — Captain Bill Bongle — from the Green Bay Police Department more than two decades ago when he was around 6 years old who bought him candy from a gas station on his birthday. Obviously that simple act had a profound effect on Robinson, who is now 28 and establishing his own career in law enforcement.

"He always checked in on me after that and was always there if I needed to talk to someone and that's why I wanted to become a police officer," Robinson told the outlet. "I wanted to be able to connect with people on that level in my community as my career."

Inspired, perhaps, by Bongle's continued involvement in his life, Robinson plans to do the same for the boy he took to McDonald's, per Captain Keith Knoebel, who responded to questions A Plus emailed to the department. 

Robinson, who first met the little boy in question during a child custody dispute a few months prior to the incident at school, told BuzzFeed that despite a chaotic upbringing the child is "happy" and "has a good head on his shoulders."

Not surprisingly, Officer Robinson's simple act of kindness has gone viral, with that initial Facebook post garnering thousands of likes, shares, and positive comments within just 48 hours, but the Green Bay native isn't one to hog the spotlight. "Officers do this everyday. Not just police but different public service jobs as well — teachers, social workers," he explained to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "All of us do this, it's not a rare occurrence."

One thing Robinson does intend to do is keep an eye on the young boy and stay involved in his life, echoing what Captain Bongle, who is now retired but still keeps in touch with Robinson, did with him over 20 years ago. "I do plan on making contact with him in the future and checking on him and see how he's doing," Robinson shared with local news station WBAY. "And if he wants to come tour the police station or see more stuff that we have to offer here, like the SWAT vehicle or other emergency vehicles that we have, and play with the lights and sirens, I'd be happy to do that with him."

Robinson, who understands better than anyone the impact one gesture can have on a young person's life, is hopeful history might repeat itself. "If I can have the impact Bongle did for me, and he could choose a career in law enforcement and keep this cycle going, I think it would be great," he concluded.

Knoebel, for his part, hopes that the story encourages empathy for police officers.

"We are human just like anyone else in any other job," he wrote in an email sent to A Plus. "These types of acts occur every day with police officers out on the street. We don't brag about them and don't look for credit. Just doing the right thing is what matters."

The story has been updated with comments from Knoebel.

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