- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

JAMESBURG, N.J. (AP) - A police department is looking to return the favor after an 8-year-old girl paid for an officer’s meal.

Jamesburg police Officer Joseph Quinn was dining at the Villa Borghese restaurant in Helmetta when Mikayla Raji struck up a conversation. She then secretly asked her mother to pay for his meal.

After doing a little detective work, Quinn found out who paid for his meal and learned about the girl’s special connection to police officers.

Mikayla’s father, Thomas Raji, was killed by a drunken driver while on duty as a Perth Amboy police officer before she was born. Her mother, Mimi Raji, was also a police officer.

“She has a huge heart, this little one,” her mother said.

The Jamesburg Police Department launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Mikayla’s education. Chief James Craparotta said the page is not repayment but a way to pay her generosity forward. The fund has raised more than $2,400 of its $10,000 goal.

“It actually brought a tear to my eye today,” Craparotta said.

He said the police department also wants Mikayla to lead the Memorial Day parade this year as an honorary member.

The department invited Mikayla to stop by headquarters for dinner on the house in a Facebook post.

“Your dad would be so proud of the person you are,” the post stated. “If you ever need us for anything, you can guarantee we will be there for you.”

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