Editor's note: the following is a letter to the editor from Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts.
On Dec. 6, the Snellville Police Department, with the help of the Explorers and members of the Snellville Citizens Police Academy, conducted their annual 'Shop with a Cop' night.
In cooperation with the Snellville Walmart and the Snellville Neighborhood Market, children chosen by the staff of Britt elementary school went shopping with a police officer to purchase gifts that their families would otherwise not be able to afford for Christmas.
But this year I witnessed a twist to Shop with a Cop, a twist that was unexpected and heartwarming. Tisha Rowland, a Snellville Realtor, was shopping in Walmart when she spotted all the police and volunteers standing in and around the McDonalds located inside the Walmart store.
She asked one of the volunteers what was going on and the volunteer explained that they were conducting their annual Shop with a Cop night. Ms. Rowland was so moved, that she went to the manager of the McDonalds and arranged to have every child given a happy meal when they had finished shopping.
Marcie Pharris, the volunteer who had spoken with Tisha told me the story and I went, along with Councilman Emmanuel, and introduced ourselves. Ms Rowland was sitting and waiting for all the children to order their meals so that she could pay the bill. Most of the children had no idea that the lady sitting on the stool was responsible for this act of charity.
Tisha Rowland was an unexpected Christmas gift; for the children, their parents, and to me. Many times during the Holiday hustle and bustle we are so focused on what we have to accomplish that we never take time to observe what is going on around us. Fortunately enough, tonight I met a lady that not only took the time to notice what was happening, but then put the rest of her life and other priorities aside, and unselfishly made the decision to participate.
After we had thanked Ms. Rowland and exchanged conversation and business cards I shook her hand and expressed to her that I hoped that she would experience the same spirit of Christmas that her actions tonight had inspired in me.
May I say one more time “Thank you Tisha Rowland” and “ Merry Christmas”.