Police officers put their lives on the line every time they show up for work. Their jobs are such a big part of who they are, it’s sometimes easy to forget they have families of their own at home.
Officer Luke Bonkiewicz works with the Lincoln Police Department in Lincoln, Nebraska. When he’s off the clock and spending time with his kids, he likes to treat them to a special meal.
Bonkiewicz frequently takes his kids to Runza, a popular Nebraska chain, for a kids meal.
Each time the officer stopped off to grab a bite to eat with his kids, he’d receive a coupon for a free dessert. Over a period of three years, Bonkiewicz had accumulated over 200 coupons.
It would take a lifetime for his family to work their way through so many free ice cream desserts. That’s when the officer thought of a great way to use the tickets, and help the community at the same time.
“I thought, we love going to Runza so much, why not give the joy of Runza to some of the other kids in the city of Lincoln,” Bonkiewicz told KETV.
He wanted to use the ice cream vouchers and pass out the treats to kids at the Belmont Recreational Center. But before he walked in with a group of 200 kids, each holding a coupon for free ice cream, he wanted to clear it with the restaurant.
Bonkiewicz wanted to give the kids free ice cream; Runza took the idea one step further.
Awwww snack! Treats are only a dollar. Get your Washingtons ready.
Not only was Runza willing to accommodate the officer’s request to use all of his coupons, they were willing to make the experience for the kids even better.
Dubbed the “Runza Rendezvous,” more than 50 kids were provided with Mini Runza sandwiches, applesauce, and cookies.
A number of officers from the station were in attendance, along with McGruff the Crime Dog, Chief Bliemeister, Asst. Chief Jackson, and Captain Butler. For Bonkiewicz, it was an opportunity to connect with the community.
“This is a way to interact in a positive way,” he told the Omaha World-Herald, “to show ourselves as role models.”
Runza Rendezvous was a success, and kids got the chance to pose for pictures with the officers.
“We think it’s great. You break bread in a number of different ways to get to know each other. We’re just excited to provide milk, apple sauce, and Runza sandwiches and cookies,” Runza Restaurant spokesperson Becky Perrett told KETV.
Bonkiewicz is already an esteemed member of the police department, having previously received the Mayor’s Award of Excellence. He’s always been passionate about his work, and community relations is a big part of it.
“You bring the kids, we’ll bring the cops and all we do is just get together and talk. It’s kind of like ‘Pop with a Cop’ except we’re having Runzas,” Bonkiewicz said.
The officer did admit to keeping a few of the coupons for use with his own kids. After years of stashing them away, he’s promised to take them to redeem their free ice cream.