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Tip-a-Cop benefits Special Olympics
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Crystal Vandykhuisen leaves the Red Robin kitchen on her way to serving an order. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Tip-A-Cop Night at Manteca’s Red Robin Restaurant had officers from both Manteca and Ripon departments greeting customers, serving water and drinks, delivering food to tables and gladly accepting tips for the Special Olympics.

A special server in Thursday night’s event benefitting the Norcal Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run was Jillian Campbell. She’s the Bocce Ball Special Olympian.

More than $900 was collected in tips for the Special Olympics undertaking, according to Manteca Police Sgt. Jodie Estarziau.

A contingent of four correctional officers from the state prison system along with their sergeant from Corcoran State Prison who were on the road delivering prisoners to a Stockton hospital added their bucks to the tip jar.

The Manteca officers included Lt. Tony Souza, Sgt. Jodie Estarziau, and Travis Johnson along with community service officer Kim Aguilar.  From Ripon there was Sgt. Steve Meece and Officer Raul Hernandez.

A couple from Eagar, Arizona had just happened into the restaurant on a business trip from Arizona to visit the Kamps Propane operation in Ripon.  They said their propane business had just been purchased by Kamps and they wanted to visit their new owners.

Souza spent time with them explaining the community and making sure their needs were met.  Souza in his own right is a genuine conversationalist and can make anyone feel at home as did the other officers.  It was a chance for diners to see the officers relaxed and at their best.

Estarziau talked with the family of Jennifer and Len Smith and got their children Aiden, 5 and Connor 2, giggling before she left their table.

The two Ripon officers found a group of kids who wanted a picture taken with them and they couldn’t find a way to get behind them because of the seating arrangement against a wall.  Both Sgt. Steve Meece and Officer Raul Hernandez found they could slide one of the large windows that separated the seating areas and drop in behind the children sitting wide-eyed below them in their booth for a quick shot – the kids were thrilled.

All the officers took the opportunity to talk to the guests at their tables while they were busy serving their dinners.