Gina Hardy spent the day at Disneyland with her kids and other relatives.
The blast they had during the day unexpectedly continued during dinner at the Red Robin on Harbor Boulevard at Chapman Avenue in Garden Grove.
That’s because on Thursday, Oct. 22, Hardy — visiting from Utah — happened upon the Garden Grove PD’s annual “Tip a Cop” fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
“We just showed up to have dinner and were pleasantly surprised,” said Hardy, of Heber City, Utah. “We had a great conversation with the police chief.
“He (Todd Elgin) was so friendly and made us feel very welcome. It was really fun to come and support the Special Olympics athletes and meet some of them. It was just a fun night.
“We had as much fun here as we did at Disneyland.”
One-hundred percent of the tips patrons gave to officers, who helped take orders and deliver food, went to the Special Olympics.
By the end of the evening, the GGPD raised $2,526 for the Special Olympics, said Lt. Robert Bogue, the GGPD’s public information officer.
“My boys loved it,” Hardy said. “It was fun to see the cops and support them. It was a fun experience to have these cops around — just a great atmosphere.”
Shannon Dieriex started competing in the Special Olympics as a swimmer and gymnast when she was 8.
Dieriex, now 30 and a resident of Anaheim, was on hand at the Red Robin to greet diners and mingle with the cops.
“I’m a global messenger with the Special Olympics,” Dieriex proudly said. “This event is exciting, doing the ‘Tip a Cop.’ They treat me excellently.
“I like the police officers, and am so glad to be here.”
Jack Duesler, of Garden Grove, was encouraged by his mother-in-law to attend the event. He and his two sons, 3 years and 9 months, joined five other relatives.
“It’s very fun,” Duesler said. “I like the fact that the police officers are actually involved in the operation of the serving the food and taking orders.
“That’s always fun,” Duesler added. “I like seeing professionals out of their element. Next year, I’d like to see one of the officers cooking.”
Steven Georges contributed to this story.