The waitress could tell the family in her section worked in law enforcement and wanted to find a way to express her appreciation.
As Fox News reports, Stephanie Wengel is a server at a Cheesecake Factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She’s also one of the many people in the Milwaukee area stunned and saddened by the death of Matthew Rittner, a local police officer recently killed in the line of duty.
Rittner, who had served 17 years on the police force, was fatally shot while trying to serve a warrant to search a home for drugs and weapons. He was the third Milwaukee officer to be killed in the line of duty in only eight months. Up until then, the department hadn’t lost an officer in more than two decades.
The Milwaukee Police Department mourns the loss of Police Officer Matthew Rittner, 35, who was killed in the line of…
The day after Rittner’s death, the tragedy was still on Wengel’s mind as she went to work. There, she noticed that the mom in one of the families in her section was wearing an American flag shirt with a blue line on it.
Realizing that the mom must be a police officer, Wengel went over to thank her. She told WDJT:
“I immediately recognized it had to be somebody who was a cop, so I asked her. She said, ‘Actually, yeah I am a cop.’ And she looked at her husband and said, ‘He is too.’ And all I said was, ‘Thank you.'”
Wengel had thanked the officers but felt what she said was insufficient. What she really wanted them to know was that people appreciate what they do and share their grief over the loss of a fellow officer.
So Wengel decided to write the officers a letter. In it, she told them, “I can’t fathom what you’re going through.” Wengel explained to WDJT what the letter was about:
“I wanted them to know that they were loved, and despite the situation that has happened, I will always back the blue.”
The officers were so touched by the server’s letter that they called her manager. The mom was reportedly “emotional” and “super grateful.”
Wenger says she feels the loss of Officer Ritter acutely due to her own experience growing up with a father who worked as a firefighter. She told WDJT:
“I can’t imagine going through one of their funerals […] I grew up with a whole bunch of cops as my neighbors, a whole bunch of firemen as my neighbors, and I don’t think they get enough recognition.”