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Teen Gets Popped For Sneaking Into Gym, But Cop Comes Up With An Awesome Solution

Police officers get a bad rap these days, as one of the more popular narratives suggests that all cops are bad eggs with nefarious intentions. Properly grounded folks know that’s far from the case, but that doesn’t make such a narrative sting any less for those that put on the uniform each and every day with the sole intent of protecting and serving their communities.

Not enough attention is given to the positive contributions that members of law enforcement make to their communities, including this amazing tale from the Chicago suburbs.

As A Plus shares, a 15-year-old boy from the area was getting under the skin of Justin Pritchett, the manager of a local gym known as X-Sport. The kid kept sneaking in without a valid membership, and the manager threatened to call the cops if he did it again.

"I said, 'hey, buddy, you can't be in here without a valid membership.' It's for insurance purposes," Pritchett explains. "He had had a membership, but his mother could not afford to pay for it anymore and it expired. All he wanted to do was play basketball."

While Pritchett felt for the kid, his hand was forced when his wishes weren’t respected. He was forced to call the cops, and Skokie Police Officer Mario Valenti.

The officer assessed the situation, and then he came up with a rather amazing solution. The story was so touching that the Skokie Police Department would share the tale on social media.

“Officer Valenti spoke to the 15-year-old boy, rumored to be amongst top Illinois high school basketball prospects, and learned that he needed a place to practice his favorite activity. Officer Valenti approached XSport Fitness Management aiming to get the aspiring player off the bench and back to hooping as a club member,” the department wrote. “He hoped to avoid blowing the whistle with a criminal complaint. Officer Valenti skillfully completed the layup with his own money, paying a one-year membership fee for the NBA hopeful.”

It got even better for the teen, as the gym agreed to match the officer's donation, and the kid wound up with a two-year membership at a substantial discount.

"I thought it was really nice. I texted him and I said 'thank you.' That meant a lot," the boy explained.

Unsurprisingly, Valenti is deflecting praise for his incredibly kind gesture.

"At the end of the day, it's not about gratitude. Most of us took this job to help people, not to hurt them. The job can be negative,” he said. “For the most part, the job is dealing with good people having a very bad day so you're not seeing the best side of people."

That’s some outstanding perspective from Valenti, and many other officers across the nation share the same sentiments. There are a ton of good folks out there, but as with everything else in life, the bad ones get all the attention.

Perhaps we will someday return to a time when more of a concerted effort is given to calling out the good folks as well.

Source: A Plus
Photos: YouTube, ABC7

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