MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – A little girl who loved police officers and wants to be one when she grows up didn’t have to wait that long thanks to a group of hometown heroes.

The Mesa Police Department took to Facebook to share the young lady’s story, posting a photo of her with three other officers. But she wasn’t just a fan. She was one of them, albeit a smaller version. She was a junior police officer.

[WATCH: Mesa police have a new junior officer in their ranks]

It started when Calista and her mom approached Officer Mugica and a couple of his fellow patrol officers as they were eating at a Chick-Fil-A.

“Her mom approached us and said, ‘Hey, you know, Cali really appreciates officers and really adores you guys, and just wants to be one, one day,’” Mugica said.

Typically, the officers would have given Cali a sticker. But nobody had one.

“It was a crucial moment that we failed at,” Mugica said with a smile and a chuckle.

Mugica, however, realized he had something better in his car -- a Mesa PD patch.

He went one better than that, though, and offered Cali a tour of his station.

Then he went one better than that, aiming for something “cooler than just an average patch,” he said.

Mugica went to Skaggs Public Safety Uniforms to get her a shirt with Mesa PD patches so she could be a junior officer. When the folks at Skaggs realized what Mugica was buying and why, they offered to donate the shirt and a police hat. (Very cool, right?) They even put her name on her new uniform.

“She was ecstatic,” Mugica said. “She was just out of this world.”

Getting credit and attention for doing something nice for a little girl, however, never entered Mugica’s mind. He and Cali have something special in common.

“When I was a kid, I adored police officers, and one officer was really kind to me,” Mugica explained. “It made me feel like that’s what I want to be. … I told myself if I ever got an opportunity to do that, then I would pay it forward.”

Cali said she loves everything about her Mesa PD shirt, and she was thrilled with her tour of the station.

“Her face lit up,” Cali’s mom said. “I almost cried. It was very emotional just to see her excitement and the extent that they went to, to do this for her. It really just blew me away. It was super special.”

“Police officers are pretty cool,” Cali said. “But the most important thing about police officers is … they take care of kind of the whole world. … They’re very kind. …You don’t have to be scared of [of them]. They’re very nice. Very nice. Very, very nice.”

Cali’s mom is grateful to Mugica.

“[He] went out of the way and really just made her day, made her year, probably made her life,” she said. “She has been through some challenges in the last couple of years, so this was a real highlight for her. … I think she’s really definitely set on being an officer.”

 


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