Illinois school teacher Lisa Smith May was driving with her son when she saw the telltale blue and red police lights flashing behind her.
Realizing she had been speeding, May expected the due punishment — an expensive speeding ticket. Instead, she was met with the cheerful disposition of a state trooper.
Illinois State Police District 17 Trooper Matthew Dalton asked May where she was going and listened as she explained that she had been driving to pick up a small couch for her classroom at Jefferson Elementary School in Princeton.
May admitted that she had been speeding and prepared to accept the consequence as Dalton took her license.
But his response surprised her, as Dalton said, “You are driving all the way to Earlville to buy a couch for your classroom?”
Dalton was impressed with the teacher’s passion for her students, and said that if everything checked out OK with her license, he would only give May a warning.
“Officer Dalton returned, gave me my license back, and told me just how much he appreciated what teachers do and give out of their own pocketbooks for their classrooms,” May wrote on Facebook.
But the interaction was not quite over yet, as Dalton again surprised her by asking how much the couch was going to cost.
Confused, May told him the cost and watched in disbelief as the trooper took cash out of his pocket and gave it to her, saying he wanted to help pay for the couch.
State Trooper Helps Teacher He Stopped for Speeding Near Earlville Purchase Couch for Her Classroom https://t.co/0ZGTNPPbIk
— IL News Network (@ILNewsNetwork) July 26, 2019
“I laughed and told him that I cannot accept a bribe from a police officer! We both laughed!” May said.
“He would not take no for an answer. I cried. In fact, I am crying tears of gratitude at this moment!”
In an interview with WSPY News, Dalton said this was the first time he had given a cash donation to someone he had pulled over. He typically does not have cash with him, Dalton explained, as he gave credit to a family associated with his daughter’s softball team as the reason why he had the cash available.
Dalton had given his daughter money for her softball tournament, knowing he could not attend and that she would need money for meals. But the family that his daughter had traveled with refused to accept the money, paying his daughter’s way out of their own pocket.
When Dalton’s daughter came home from her tournament, she handed the money back to her dad, who placed it in his pocket and went to work.
“They would not accept the money, so I felt that I had the money in my pocket, it didn’t belong there,” Dalton said.
So, he decided to pay it forward.
“It was their kind gesture of taking care of my daughter and I thought well, this money doesn’t belong to me anyway and this could be better served somewhere else.”
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