A charming instance of community outreach has developed into a viral sensation involving a Westminster police officer and a young admirer whom he recently visited.
Officer Mike Gradilla, 26, met Friday with 3-year-old Tayden Nguyen, about a week after the boy started pre-school, the Orange County Register reported.
Gradilla was dispatched to the assignment after Tayden’s uncle called the Westminster Police Department and said his nephew, who is fascinated by officers, was in a somewhat sullen mood, according to the newspaper.
“I was there to brighten his day, but he brightened my day,” Gradilla told the O.C. Register.
A photo posted on the department’s official Facebook page show the youngster, wearing a policeman’s costume and hat, sitting on the hood of a police vehicle as Gradilla stands nearby. Another image shows the officer holding Tayden as both smile for the camera.
“This adorable guy wanted to meet a police officer. … Officer Gradilla was happy to oblige and spend some time with him. #cop4aday #kidsrock,” reads the post’s caption.
As of Tuesday, it has received more than 58,000 “likes” and has been shared about 15,500 times.
“It went viral because the officer is a cutie! Let’s not lie about that but all good cops should be respected and admired,” KTLA viewer Sarah Macedo said on Facebook.
Commenting on the same social media post, Stacey Marie Sanchez wrote: “I think I speak for all women here. And we want to know if he’s single? LoL.”
Without discussing the officer’s personal life, Westminster police Sgt. Eddie Esqueda described Gradilla as “a giver” who would “give you the shirt off his back and quietly helps the homeless.”
“This is not a publicity stunt,” the sergeant added. “Mike’s the real deal.”