Central California deputies pull over drivers, surprise them with cash for Christmas

Sara Sandrik Image
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Police officers give random acts of kindness during holiday season
Some of the lucky citizens said they will use the extra cash to purchase last minute Christmas gifts.

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. -- Imagine seeing the lights and hearing the sirens of a patrol car pulling you over, only to receive cash instead of a ticket.

That's exactly what deputies in Madera County, California did on Monday for some deserving drivers.

This is the fifth year that deputies have hit the streets to hand out money as part of what they call "Operation Random Acts of Kindness."

On Monday morning, deputies gathered for a briefing with employees from Agriland Farming Company, who donated enough money for 50 people to receive $100 bills.

"The biggest thing is you're going to have to be active to find enough folks to give away $5,000 in 4-5 hours," said Jay Varney of the Madera County Sheriff's Office.

The deputies hit the streets looking for drivers committing minor violations.

"The reason I pulled you over is the registration on the vehicle is expired..."

But instead of handing out tickets, they gave away greeting cards with the cash inside.

"Not expected, I can tell you that much so I'm very appreciative, and it's a good time of the year to get surprises like that, so it's pretty awesome," said one recipient Ryan Wood.

The Sheriff's Office conducts this annual operation in hopes of helping people who may be facing financial hardships during the holidays. It also lifts the spirits of the deputies who often encounter people on the most challenging days of their lives.

"This is an opportunity for the deputies to go out and have positive interactions with the community and really helps us build relationships with the community," says Madera County Undersheriff Tyson Pogue.

Many of the drivers they encountered were nervous initially, but those fears quickly turned into gratitude.

"This was my first time getting pulled over too, so it's a very good way to get pulled over," said Griselda Lopez.

We asked the drivers how they plan to spend the money. Some said they would use it to fix the problems they got pulled over for, such as missing front license plates, but others said it would help them buy last-minute Christmas gifts for their loved ones.