Employees at X-Sport Fitness in Skokie, Illinois warned a teen who was repeatedly caught sneaking onto the basketball court to play with his friends that they were going to have to call the police if he did it again. And when he did, they followed through with the threat.
But when Skokie Police Officer Mario Valenti arrived, he didn’t arrest the teen. He bought him a gym membership instead. Valenti offered to pay $150 out of his own pocket to the fitness center and asked how long that would get the teen in. They told him three to four months, but then the corporate office heard the story and was moved to stretch that money into a two-year membership so the kid could keep playing basketball with his buddies.
Valenti later learned the boy is an NBA hopeful, a skilled player who’s gotten national attention for his moves on the court. “I’d rather have him playing ball than being on the street and possibly getting into trouble,” the officer explains. He says his generosity is an example that “doing a good thing can be contagious. I see that all the time.”
Source: Chicago Tribune