When a 15-year-old was caught sneaking into X-Sport Fitness gym in Chicago, staff called police as they employees said he’d been warned in the past. But when Skokie Police Officer Mario Valenti showed up, he surprised everyone.
Valenti offered to pay for the boy’s membership and asked how much $150 would get him. He was told the money would be good enough for three to four months of gym time. However, X-Sport Fitness corporate was so touched by Valenti’s kindness, they put it toward a two-year membership.
"At the end of the day, it's not about gratitude," Valenti told the Chicago Tribune. "Most of us took this job to help people, not to hurt them. The job can be negative. 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."
It turns out the teen is an NBA hopeful who has gained national attention and just wanted to play basketball. Sometimes he would hide in the bathroom stalls in order to evade staff just for a chance to play.
He had a membership, but his mother wasn’t able to afford the renewal after it expired. Now, thanks to Valenti, he can play as much basketball as he wants.
Watch the video to see how the officer got the ball rolling with kindness.