When Hingham Sergeant Steve Dearth sat down at a table at his local Panera Bread, he thought he’d be spending his dinner break alone, as he usually did.
But one three-year-old girl had other ideas. Little Lillian had noticed that the officer was sitting by himself, and thought he might need some company.
Video footage shared by the police department on Facebook, showing the pair eating together, has touched the hearts of millions. The caption reads:
“When a new 3 year old friend we just met wants to sit with us on a dinner break. A very adorable and very outgoing Lillian with Sgt. Steven Dearth having the best dinner date ever (video courtesy of Panera Bread Derby Street Shoppes).”
In the video, Lillian, who’s barely big enough to see over the table, can be seen chatting to the officer while he enjoys his food. According to Sergeant Dearth, Lillian had sat down with him while he was waiting for his food to arrive.
Her parents kept a close eye on their outgoing daughter from a nearby table while the little girl bonded with the officer.
When asked by WHDH what she thinks of police officers, Lillian had an adorable answer:
“I think they’re nice. I love police.”
It’s unclear whether Lillian was simply being a curious child here, or whether she was able to feel on a deeper level that eating alone in a restaurant is something that no-one should have to do.
Restaurants are vibrant, social places, and it never seems right when someone sits down at a table for one.
According to Officer Dearth, his conversation with Lillian taught him a lot about life, and he’ll always cherish the experience. He added:
“It meant the world to me. It was the best break I ever had.”
For her community effort, Lillian was awarded a Junior Police Officer sticker from Sergeant Dearth, and she hopes she might see him again for “a play date in a few days”.
Happily, Sergeant Dearth will always be able to look back on this sweet moment when he needs a pick-me-up, because the pair snapped an adorable photo, in which Lillian proudly shows off her Junior Police Officer badge.
A video of the interaction was shared by Inside Edition to YouTube, and has been viewed more than 2 million times.
Little Lillian has won fans all over the world, with hundreds of people taking to the comments to exclaim how cute and kind-hearted she was.
One person wrote:
“That little girl is going to be such an amazing woman when she grows up! God bless her.”
Someone else commented:
“God Bless this sweet child, we all need to become children again sweet innocent and kind 💙”
A few people suggested that Lillian might have actually been turning in her parents for crimes like making her pick up her toys after playing with them. You never know – we can only make guesses at what they talked about!
Though the interaction between Sergeant Dearth and Lillian didn’t last long, the sweet act from the little girl is something that he will most likely remember for a lifetime.
The world needs more little girls like Lillian! You can watch footage of the pair’s heartwarming interaction by pressing “play” on the video below.
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