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Viral video shows little girl joining solo police officer for his dinner break

Posted March 31
Updated April 1

HINGHAM, Mass. — Police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, so they deserve to have someone to talk to when they sit down for a dinner break.

At least that’s what a 4-year-old Massachusetts girl decided when she noticed an officer flying solo at Panera Bread, according to Inside Edition.

Hingham police Sgt. Steven Dearth was in the middle of an evening shift when he decided to grab a bite to eat at the restaurant. As he was waiting for his food, he caught the gaze of little Lillian — who was there eating dinner with her family.

“She looked at me and smiled and I smiled,” Dearth told Inside Edition. “Her dad carried her over and then I gave her a high five and a ‘Jr. Police Officer’ sticker.”

Dearth found a table and began to eat, when his new friend ditched her parents, plopped herself down in the other chair at his table and struck up a conversation.

“I think that they’re nice,” Lillian told WHDH News. “I love police.”

The Hingham Police Department asked Panera Bread for surveillance video of the adorable “dinner date,” and posted it to its Facebook page Sunday. As of Wednesday night, the video — which shows the officer and his new friend chatting and laughing — had been viewed more than 30,000 times.

“It meant the world to me,” Dearth told WHDH. “It was the best break I ever had.”

After they finished eating, Dearth took Lillian and her family outside so they could check out his police car, ABC News reported. Before the pair parted ways, Lillian did what any new friend would do — asking Dearth if they could set up a playdate in the next few days, according to another Facebook post by Hingham Police.

“It means a lot to police officers when people say hi, especially when children approach us,” the post — which also included a photo of Dearth and Lillian — reads.

Dearth told Inside Edition that a “playdate” is in the works — Lillian and her mom have plans to tour the police station later this week. He also noted that he’ll never forget his special dinner break with a “very outgoing” little fan.

“It was amazing to see a child that was that comfortable around a uniformed police officer,” Dearth said.

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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