Surprise donation helps Orlando police distribute gift cards to drivers

ORLANDO, Florida –When Orlando Police patrol officers started handing out $ 25 Advance Auto Parts gift cards, if any, instead of tickets, they made drivers cry – in a good way.

Drivers in need were so grateful and shocked to receive the gift card to fix a broken light or other equipment malfunction instead of a $ 114 bill, some were moved to tears. Others applauded. Some even laughed.

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A woman who was struggling to make ends meet had her broken mirror attached to her door, just to get to work. She received a $ 25 gift card to use for her repair.

But Advance Auto Parts had only given OPD 200 gift cards. After that, the police department did not have the resources to buy more.

So News 6 intensified.

News 6 news director Allison McGinley said when the newsroom saw the results OPD had achieved, WKMG had to act.

“When we saw the original story, it shut down the press room,” McGinley said. “And that doesn’t happen often when everyone says it’s amazing and we need to do something. So this partnership that you [OPD and Advance] have created is really the goal of getting results.

McGinley presented $ 5,000 in Advance Auto Parts gift cards to Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón and patrol officers, for a total of 200 gift cards, each for $ 25.

“And that for me at a time when we are in a time of a pandemic, when people are faced with unemployment, when they are facing food problems, when they are facing increasing rent costs and costs of living. ‘Homeownership, to be able to keep $ 114 in their pocket while still giving them something that keeps the community safe or makes the community safer, makes sense, ”McGinley said. “We see a need and we are filling a need. Whether it’s an Angel Tree campaign or school supplies for the kids, we do these things all year round. Why not do it in partnership with a law enforcement agency if it is doing the right thing? What they are.

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When WKMG broke the news to Rolón, he initially thought it was a joke.

“And then to hear about the fact that you are contributing this significant amount of money to make a difference in our community in this way, where people in need can capitalize on the opportunity to use those funds and fix their cars.” and not have to make choices, ”Rolón said. “When you see the end result, when someone is stopped by an officer and instead of a quote or whatever they thought of, and the officers hand them a gift card so they can do repairing their cars, and some are getting emotional about the experience they just had, perhaps because they were so pleasantly surprised that someone gave them a gift card. It’s a godsend. “

Rolón said WKMG’s donation is a first for his department.

“I can’t think of another opportunity or another time that something like this has happened before,” Rolón said. “I think this is the first time that one of our media partners, in this case WKMG, has come forward and said that we are going to support this program and in such a meaningful way. You are going to make a difference to people in the community far beyond what you can think of. And the fact that you stepped up your efforts and said, as partners, that we are here to help you and deliver it all, for us, it left us speechless. “

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McGinley said WKMG is just putting their money where their mouth is.

“I think at WKMG we believe in doing what we say we believe in – and that’s getting results for our community, that’s what we experience,” McGinley said. “And that means it’s part of the news coverage. but it is also taking advantage of these opportunities to be of service and to give back to the community. This therefore made perfect sense. It is the epitome of getting results.

After News 6 first featured the OPD gift card program in a Getting Results Together segment, OPD said that Advance Auto Parts was also keen to maintain the program and also pledged to donate an additional $ 5,000. from gift cards to OPD.

“And our stories of getting results together that we do every week, that’s the point: to bring the law enforcement community together with the community to make sure they’re working together. And I don’t think there has been a better program so far that has had such tangible results, ”said McGinley. “As a news station it is our responsibility to hold people to account, but it is also our responsibility to be of service to our community, and we have done so in myriad ways, ending texting and driving to the best of our ability by creating a law and linking people to their unemployment when the unemployment system was not working.

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McGinley said WKMG wanted to make sure the gift card offering continued, especially during the holidays.

“I just hope someone, if they get arrested, I hope they can fix that taillight or that turn signal, but I hope they can use that $ 114 for something that’s really important. for him or his family. McGinley said. “And that’s all I can ask for during this vacation period.”

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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