Madera sheriff's deputies hand out gifts instead of tickets

The employees of AgriLand donate the money that's handed out

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. - When you're driving out on the road, the last thing you want to see is flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. But on Friday, you might have been one of the lucky ones if you had them trailing you.

Sgt. Jason Clark was taking a closer look at vehicles on the road. Even with the littlest misstep, Clark would turn on his lights and pull the driver over.

Normally, he would write a ticket in these situations. However, instead, he would just give a warning and a special red envelope -- filled with $100.

For the past three years, the Madera County Sheriff's Office has been running Operation Random Kindness. Deputies pull drivers over for misdemeanor infractions and give them a surprise gift, instead of a citation.

Clark has been helping with it since it started. He said the surprise in people's faces never gets old.

"It makes them feel good because they're thinking, 'Oh great, I'm going to get a ticket.' Or, 'Oh, I did something wrong,'" said Clark.

All the money handed out is donated by the employees of AgriLand. The idea is to give back and create fun between the sheriff's office and the communities they serve.

"[The sheriff's office] see mostly bad all day long," said Ron Wilkinson, controller for AgriLand. "To give them the opportunity to give back, see people smile, and make a difference in their life -- that's what our goal is."

In total, deputies had 500 cards to hand out this year. That adds up to a grand total of $5,000 to give away.


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