OPINION: Saying thanks

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With everything happening in the world today, it’s nice to have someone such as Sgt. Albert Pilbeam.

The Taliban have quickly taken over most of Afghanistan after U.S. forces finally pulled out.

COVID-19 is plaguing parts of the U.S. once again and rising in Canada, including here in Chatham-Kent.

On top of that, our prime minister decided now is somehow a good time to call a federal election. That’s right, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Uhhh, Justin Trudeau, the virus has not gone away yet.

But we digress. Back to the now-retired sergeant. For 22 years, the Ridgetown native served the people of Chatham-Kent as a member of the police service. He retired last week, going out as he came in, working as a patrol officer behind the wheel of a cruiser Thursday and Friday.

Pilbeam took great joy in pulling people over for his final two days on the job. And the drivers he stopped generally were at first worried, and then massively relieved.

Pilbeam pulled people over and handed them Tim Hortons gift cards as a way of saying thanks for letting him serve the community for more than two decades.

What a class act.

Police officers can become jaded, having to deal with less-than-stellar members of the community time and time again. They can view pretty much everyone with some form of suspicion.

A teenaged co-op student, taking photos at different angles of police cruisers for this newspaper learned that a few years back. He was doing something pre-approved by police management, but got pulled over while walking back to our office. No reason other than the officer was suspicious and wanted to know what the young man was doing.

And then there is Albert Pilbeam, proud to serve, and prouder to be a member of the Chatham-Kent community, saying thanks with gift cards and a smile.

He made people’s days, probably weeks, as COVID has too many of us in foul moods or focused too inwardly.

People reportedly wanted to hug him, which, prior to the pandemic, would most certainly have occurred.

Kudos to the now ex-cop. You retired with class.

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