LEBANON, Ore. (KOIN) — Lebanon police officer Eric Stein stopped by the local Taco Bell for lunch. What he got was a whole lot more.
Kaylee Orlikowski, the general manager for the Lebanon Taco Bell, saw him in his uniform. She helped fill his order — 2 burritos — and then decided to “just make somebody feel special or just have a better day.”
So she grabbed a pen and wrote on the burrito wrappers: “Thank u!” and “Thank you for your service”
“When my team member handed him the bag, I just said, ‘Have a great day and stay safe,” Orlikowski told KOIN 6 News.
Officer Stein opened the bag in his patrol car and saw the notes — and just began to smile.
“Any time you can go tell the boss, ‘Hey, I just got a thank you,’ you know he definitely wants to tell me that,” chuckled Lebanon Police Chief Frank Stevenson.
The chief spoke with KOIN 6 News for Officer Stein, who is working the graveyard shift Friday night.
He said the officer knocked on his office door and asked if he could talk to the chief for a minute.
“He’s like, ‘I got these thank you notes on my burrito.’ And I sat there and I said, ‘Well, was it wrapped or was it open?’ Because that would be my first question,” the chief said.
“He said, ‘No, it was wrapped,’ and he showed me.”
The Lebanon police posted the photo on their Facebook page and said it may not seem “much to some people but it was priceless to Officer Stein.”
“What happened here put a big smile on the police officer’s face. It was totally unexpected but meant the world to him.”
He said Officer Stein is an outstanding officer who loves serving the community.
“It’s definitely not the money or the hours that he works. I think it’s just a passion Officer Stein has,” the chief said. “He does the job because he cares about the community. He’s doing it because he wants to make a difference in the community.”
Chief Stevenson said officers don’t expect thank yous, but this message hit home. He also acknowledged the “tension” nationwide that surrounds policing these days.
“There is a little bit of a tension that’s in front of us today and the officers feel it. The community feels it,” he said. “We do hear the positive remarks. Again, it just kind of makes us breathe a little easier that we have the support of the community. We support the community and that’s what makes a community, right there, is just supportive of one another.”
Taco Bell manager Kaylee Orlikowski didn’t have any idea how much her simple act touched so many until someone asked her if she had seen the Lebanon PD Facebook page.
“I just think that they have a really hard job that they don’t get a lot of recognition for, like they should,” she said. “You never really know what kind of small acts will make somebody’s day.”
She said she just wanted Officer Eric Stein to know how much he and his fellow officers are appreciated.
“I have 2 boys, I have a husband and I see them every day driving by the apartments, by our house and by the school,” she said. “People actually care.”