For more than a year, the 17-year-old had been shoving money earned from babysitting and scorekeeping at basketball games into a rinsed-out nacho cheese jar tucked in her dresser.
Lisa Davila, a junior at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, had special plans for the nearly $300 she had saved.
She wanted to take her youngest sister, Sasha, to Disneyland for the first time.
Lisa planned to take Sasha in January to celebrate her sister’s 10th birthday, but the teen hadn’t yet saved enough.
She kept filling the jar, confident they could go for Sasha’s 11th birthday.
But on June 6, Lisa came home to no money in her nacho cheese jar.
Westminster Police Officer Mike Ogawa was among those who responded to reports of a burglary at Lisa’s home that day on Palomar Street.
The 17-year-old’s cash was stolen along with money Lisa’s mother kept in her bedroom.
Rooms in their house were ransacked, items strewn across the floor, drawers emptied and cabinets disheveled.
Ogawa said the family is taking an inventory of all that was stolen but bulky items — such as the family’s television — were left untouched.
As police were interviewing the Davilas, the mother whispered to Ogawa Lisa’s plans for the money she had saved.
Lisa said she was devastated her hard-earned cash was gone.
In addition to saving for Disneyland, the teen had a mason jar she was filling with money to buy her best friend a birthday gift.
“I was frustrated that someone would come in to my home and do that,” Lisa said. “I was just really upset.”
Ogawa, president of the Westminster Police Officers’ Association, and Motor Officer Kees Davis, vice president of the POA, visited the teen’s school on Wednesday with a surprise: five tickets to Disneyland.
Lisa’s whole family — sisters Sasha and 15-year-old Alice, brother Taro,12, and mom — would be able to share the experience.
“We just felt so bad that this happened we wanted to see if there was something we could do,” Ogawa said. “And hopefully we will catch the guys who did this.”
The tickets were paid for by a POA fund earmarked for various nonprofit and community causes the officers choose to give to each year.
“It’s nice to remind the community that this is why we got into this job … to help people,” Davis said. “And it feels good to help.”
When Lisa accepted the gift, her classmates erupted with applause.
The teen gave Ogawa and Davis a shy hug before accepting the purple gift bag.
Lisa said in the last several months she has been introducing Sasha to Disney movies so the 10-year-old would be familiar with the characters —“Tarzan,” “Snow White” and “Aladdin” are among the films they’ve watched together.
Up next on the movie list: “The Little Mermaid.”
“I’ve been trying to get her to learn about Disney,” she said. “So far, ‘Snow White’ is her favorite.”
The teen added she doesn’t know what her family will do first when they arrive at Disneyland; it’s been more than a decade since she’s visited the park.
“I was really little, so I don’t remember much,” she said. “I’m sure it has changed a lot since I’ve been there.”
Lisa said she is just excited to soak in the special day with her family.
“I think this is pretty amazing,” she said. “I guess the officers at Westminster are just really nice.”