The past 15 months have been very difficult for Naomi Norelli. A single mother amidst a battle with cancer, she gave birth to her second child just last year.
After beating her cancer, she moved the family of three to Denver, Colo. in hopes of a fresh start. Unfortunately, life kept pulling her down.
She lost the job she moved to Denver for and once she found a new job, her car died. Barely able to scrape enough money together to buy a new vehicle capable of getting her to work, Norelli could not afford the $400 to buy new license plates for her car.
“Trying to cover rent, child care, food, groceries, the whole nine yards on one budget is really hard,” she said. Things could not have possibly looked worse, until one morning on her way to work she was pulled over by the Greenwood Village police.
“Literally around the corner from work, [I] got pulled over,” Norelli said. “My tags were expired. I knew it was why I was being pulled over.”
In tears, Norelli waited while they approached her window. “The police officer asked why my tags were so far expired. I explained ‘Well it’s between the tag and the groceries, essentially,’” Naomi recalls. “I am a single parent with two kids under the age of 5 and just trying to make those ends meet with the kids is really challenging.”
Dutifully, the police officer wrote her a ticket for the expired tags on her car and sent her on her way. Norelli arrived at work with tears streaming down her face and thoughts racing through her mind about how she would feed her children.
But that was not the last time she would see the police officer who gave her the ticket. Later that day during her shift, the police officer showed up with another officer carrying groceries for Norelli.
In disbelief, Norelli thanked the two officers. She said, “I was totally and completely stunned.”
While she still had to pay off the ticket, this gift prevented her from going hungry. But the surprises did not stop there.
Norelli and her coworkers were extremely thankful, and word of their thankfulness got back to the station. A few days later, Norelli, who had written a heartfelt thank-you email, received a phone call from the chief.
He told her the thank-you note had circulated through the station and touched their hearts, and they had also heard of her coworkers’ sincere gratitude. The station had collected more groceries for her, had a Starbucks gift card, a toy for her son, and an anonymous donor wanted to give her the money to cover her ticket!
“Someone just did something they did not have to do, they did not have to go out of their way, they could of just left me with a ticket,” Norelli said. “That’s really amazing.”
Chief Eric Schmitt said, “Obviously police officers are human as well and sometimes we have stories that just tug at our heart strings as well.” Mostly, he is proud of his officers and their generous hearts.
“We heard about it when her coworkers reached out to us and thanked us for what our officers did,” Schmitt said. “That to me speaks volumes because they didn’t do it to get extra kudos from their bosses or anything, they just did it because it was the right thing and they just did it because they wanted to.”
Thanks to the generosity of these police officers, Norelli is hoping to stop playing catch-up with her budget. While the past 15 months have been rough for her, the future is looking bright once again.
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