Motorists pulled over in Texas got quite the surprise when they were given a turkey instead of a traffic ticket.
"It was just absolutely phenomenal," Fort Worth Police Department Officer Buddy Calzada told InsideEdition.com Thursday. "People couldn’t believe it."
One traffic stop in particular lodges in Calzada’s memory. Two women in a beat-up car were pulled over for speeding.
Turns out, the vehicle didn’t have seat belts, another infraction. “They had to use a wrench to open the door,” Calzada said. "The driver began sobbing and apologizing saying, 'we have no food, I was just going to the store. I’m so sorry. Please, I just can’t afford a ticket.'"
Calzada and his told the woman to calm down, he said. When he explained that they weren’t going to ticket her, but they were going to give her a turkey for Thanksgiving, the woman just sat there stunned.
“It took her a while to gather herself,” he said. When she did, all she could say was, 'You got to be kidding me. You got to be kidding me.'"
On Wednesday, patrol officers gave away 25 turkeys, all of which were donated by Fort Worth Metro Ministries, a nonprofit run by Calzada’s wife that works to bridge the gap between cops and high-crime communities.
The birds were divided between five patrol divisions in low-income neighborhoods and handed out during stops for traffic violations such as an expired registration, not wearing a seatbelt or not having a front license plate.
“There was story after story” from the detained drivers, Calzada said. And like the weeping woman’s explanation, many were many tales of need. “They were all legitimate excuses,” he said.
Being able to hand over something soothing, instead of a summons, did Calzada’s heart good.
“We’re here to help the community,” he said.