LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – The Lake City Police Department was handing out money instead of tickets during traffic stops Wednesday afternoon.
Police Chief Kipp Coker said he wanted to do something to give back to the community and anonymous donors gave the department more than one thousand dollars to hand out to people in need.
“We stopped the vehicles, we had people crying, people that didn’t have any money in their bank account,” Chief Coker said, “and that’s what it’s all about, is giving back and helping one another.”
Lake City Officer, Calvin Smith, put on his Santa hat and hit the streets to spread some cheer. He started off many of his conversations by saying he got a call from the North Pole.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” He asked one driver. When the driver said “no,” the officer replied, “When you were coming around that curb over there I noticed a sled on the back of your sleigh was flat.”
He said he was touched by some of the moments he shared with drivers as he handed out money.
“I love helping people because I’ve been doing it almost 36 years and to do this means a lot,” Smith said.
Chief Coker said he thinks it’s important for the department to be involved in the community.
Steven Nettles said he was shaking and speechless when Officer Smith pulled him over and gave him the $100 bill.
“Christmas is around the corner and I wanted to give something to my grandparents,” he said. “They’ve got bills to pay and they’ve done so much for me and I couldn’t help, and I kept thinking ‘What can I give them? What can I give them?’”
Nettles said this unexpected gift was a reminder of the good in the world.
“He’s spreading joy and Christmas and all I have to say is thank you so much,” said Nettles.
Kaneel Gamble was one of the drivers stopped by Officer Smith. Gamble said he felt blessed to have been stopped because of something that happened earlier that day.
“I went to the gas station this morning, swiped my card, and the lady said my card was declined and my balance was zero dollars and zero cents,” Gamble said.
“It brings joy to my heart and these officers that were involved and that’s what it’s all about is giving back,” Chief Coker said.