Roman: 'When I grow up, I want to be just like you'

By John Roman

A few weeks ago, I was typing reports in Starbucks when a woman and two children walked in. I looked up and glanced over as they went up to the counter. The mother ordered and sat down on the other side of the room.

I was concentrating on my work when I noticed one of the boys, who was about 4 years old, shyly peeking around a display at me. He watched me with curiosity and wonder. He had short, dark-brown hair that was parted on the side and he was wearing a white polo shirt with dark horizontal stripes.

I looked over at him and smiled as I waved. His body flinched and his eyebrows jumped up in the air like a shocked cartoon character. A moment later, his eyes lit up like a lighthouse on a rocky coast on a dark night.

He smiled as he rocked back and forth on his heels with nervous energy and gave me a quick wave of his hand. With no hesitation, he walked up to me and said, “When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”

I smiled as I held out my right hand and asked, “What’s your name?”

He looked at my uniform and my equipment and took it all in. He held up his hand and shook mine as he told me his name.

“Thanks for saying hi to me,” I replied.

He smiled back and hurriedly walked back to his mom, who was watching from across the room. He leaned against her as he continued to watch me. A few minutes later, she got her drink and walked toward the door with her sons following like ducklings.

Right before stepping through the door, the boy smiled and gave me a quick wave. I waved back and then he was gone.

Thanks, little guy, for making my day.

Editor’s Note: John Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415 (badge415.wordpress.com). His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, an officer for more than 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. BehindTheBadgeOC.com shares some of his columns.