ROCK HILL — On Rock Hills Baker Street Friday afternoon, Michael Reid pulled his sleigh to the curb and knocked on the door of a house.
Who is it? came the call from inside.
Rock Hill Police, Reid said.
Not Santa Claus, but he could have said so.
This cop carrying bags did not bring warrants, he brought food.
Friday was Officer Reids day off. He did not shop for his wife and three kids. He spent the afternoon in uniform, driving around the city, to homes, apartments and neighborhoods he had visited on calls for service in 2012.
Reid had helped with the United Way and some people there asked if he knew anyone who could use the last toys and food left from so many donations.
I figured I would go back to some of these places I had been to on calls and show the people out here that what we do is try to help, Reid said.
So Reid loaded up his sleigh OK, his patrol car the trunk and back seat and front seat, until he could barely steer.
At that house on Baker Street, Robin Whitlock called the food and the toys she received from Reid for the kids in the home, a blessing, a secret Santa wearing a uniform.
Reid walked back outside and looked in the trunk of his patrol car.
Betcha a girl in that house would like a bike.
He rummaged under all the bags, found a bicycle with training wheels and carried it inside.
Merry Christmas! he called out, then this officer for the past seven years headed to his next stop.
He found Sybil Gaiton on Orr Street in the same Sunset Park neighborhood. Her kids are teens, but they sure could use food for the weekend and holiday.
Bless you, Gaiton told Reid.
My pleasure, said Reid, as he brought the boxes from the patrol car that looked more and more like a sleigh every stop he made.
Reid has to work on Christmas Day. He will leave his wife and three kids at home while he tries to help somebody who needs it.
Reid left the Sunset Park neighborhood Friday for other parts of the city, west of Cherry Road, apartments off Willowbrook Avenue, more. In one apartment, he found a family with two little kids. Food was carried in, toys.
I wanna be a policeman! said the older kid, tiny, 4 years old, named Kevion McCoy.
Do good in school, do your best, you can be anything you want, Reid told him.
Jessie Harris, in the apartment, thanked Reid for showing up unannounced, asking for nothing but giving away goods and more importantly, his time and his smile.
Then Michael Reid drove off for other homes, apartments and neighborhoods, on his day off.
He did not get paid for what he did, but he earned something special anyway.
Andrew Dys 803-329-4065 firstname.lastname@example.org