Sgt. Steven Dearth was grabbing a bite when up marched little Lillian to his table.
The 3-year-old gave Dearth a high five and told him she wanted to be a police officer. The officer shared one of the junior officer stickers he carries with him and sat down to eat.
“Next thing I know I look up and she was there with her dad and she climbed into the empty chair,” Dearth told CNN.
“She sat down, we chatted. She is very articulate and asked a lot of questions. What I couldn’t get over what she never looked back at her parents. She was just so comfortable. I wouldn’t even expect an 8 or 9-year-old to do that.”
The interaction at a Panera Bread in Hingham, Massachusetts, was caught on the restaurant’s surveillance camera and shared by the city police department.
“A very adorable and very outgoing Lillian with Sgt. Steven Dearth having the best dinner date ever,” the Hingham PD wrote.
That was earlier this month, and Lillian’s mom said the little girl’s been talking about it ever since.
So this week, Lillian and the sergeant had a play date at the station.
“She came to the police station and she ran in and gave me a big hug,” Dearth said. “She brought in Munchkins and she told me I had to share, which I did.”
Afterward, she asked whether they could eat again.
“How about Panera?”
Dearth said sure.
“We’ll definitely stay in touch.”