There is a lot of violence in Chicago and the surrounding areas, and so kids need a healthy outlet to avoid crime.
One Chicago kid, aged fifteen, decided his way would be to live by the adage, “ball is life,” and commit himself to basketball.
He would play at X-Sport Fitness’ basketball court- without a membership, though. Police eventually called, as he was technically trespassing. What this cop did next totally broke protocol, and surprised everyone.
Originally, this teen had a membership to the X-Sport Fitness gym.
However, “his mother could not afford to pay for it anymore and it expired,” said gym manager Justin Pritchett.
The hard-headed teen would try to sneak past the front desk of the gym to play some pickup basketball, even once hiding in the bathroom to avoid getting caught.
After multiple trespassing incidents and warnings, Pritchett said that he “had no choice but to contact police.”
Officer Mario Valenti arrived on the scene to assess the situation. Technically, this teen was trespassing and was warned multiple times about it, so he should have been arrested.
However, once he checked the boy’s background and saw he had no priors, and he was just a good kid trying to play some ball, Valenti opened his wallet. The cop decided to pay $150 dollars towards the kid’s gym membership!
“We all were flabbergasted here,” said Pritchett, but he was moved and decided to also be a good person, by giving an incredible deal of $150 for two years, rather than the regular $718. T
he officer was not surprised, as he believes, “doing a good thing can be contagious,” and that, “[he] see[s] that all the time.”
Valenti also changed the boy’s perception of police, which was initially negative. The officer was also happy to help, as, “he’d rather have him playing ball than being on the street and possibly getting into trouble.”