Although she never got married nor had any children, Berenice Benson from Canberra, Australia, has lived a good and long life.
At 85 years old, she’s fulfilled many of her personal goals by traveling across Europe, visiting new cultures, tasting different kinds of food, and talking with people from different backgrounds. She relished crossing off vacation destinations on her bucket list.
There was one place Benson never got to visit: New York City.
Although Benson has been to many famous cities, she never got to fulfill a particular lifelong dream to visit New York.
“I never got to go, it’s my dream. I’d love to meet a real New York policeman,” Benson often said to the staff at her nursing home.
“Just the idea of strolling through the streets of New York and asking a policeman for directions to the nearest coffee shop.”
As Benson grew older, she was diagnosed with dementia. Having already accepted the fact that she’d probably never fulfill her dream, the diagnosis seemed to seal the deal.
But there was a bit of a surprise in store for her.
Benson had become known around the nursing home for constantly talking about wanting to visit New York City—so the building’s staff decided they wanted to do something special for her.
One day they brought her to a room in the building and invited her to chat about her wish. Benson began talking about the New York coffee she always hoped to taste.
And that was when a New York City police officer in full uniform walked into the room.
“I don’t know about coffee, but I can show you where all the best doughnuts are,” the officer, Detective Howard Shank, cheerfully said.
Benson began to cry with surprise and happiness.
“It’s very nice to meet you,” the detective went on as he shook Benson’s hand and gave her a peck on the cheek.
Benson had no idea how to react. In between laughter and tears of joy, she started speaking with Detective Shank, who was happy to answer all of her questions about New York City.
“I never married and I never had children, but this excitement, this has been the best day of my life,” Benson would later say to The Canberra Times.
As for Detective Shank, who had just happened to be visiting Sydney, he was a bit bemused upon hearing about Benson’s strange request. However, he was eager to join in on the staff’s plan to surprise her.
“I lost my father to Alzheimer’s, so being here, [it’s] a bit emotional, but I’ve seen a lot and done a lot, and this is one of the better moments in my career,” Detective Shank explained.
Benson’s surprise went very well.
Benson ended up enjoying every minute of her time with Detective Shank, and her lifelong dream may just have been fulfilled—to the best it possibly could be.
Watch the video of their meeting below.
Berenice has always wanted to meet a “real life New York policeman”. This is the moment an NYPD detective surprised her at her nursing home in Canberra. pic.twitter.com/Bl60BYGiOK
— Sherryn Groch (@Sherryn_G) January 18, 2018