On Friday morning, Fort Worth Police posted a video to their Facebook page that showed police stopping shoppers at a Walmart store. They weren't in trouble. They were getting their holiday shopping lists paid for by Fort Worth PD.
NBC 5 was at the Walmart on Thursday afternoon for what police dubbed Operation Blue Elves.
"We're looking to pull this off in a couple of hours," Officer Buddy Calzada told officers, volunteers, and Walmart employees who gathered for a briefing. "It's gonna be fun!"
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They started with a 'survey' about police vehicles. Officer Calzada coaxed shoppers to look at two patrol cars to give their opinions, while he made small talk about what they hoped to get for Christmas. The 'elves' listening inside gathered the items and brought them to the curb to surprise shoppers.
"I wasn't expecting this," Omar Avila said. Avila went home with a 50-inch TV and soundbar.
Next, officers rolled out two tiny pink bikes for two little girls. Then they went inside to stop shoppers in their tracks.
"We're not chasing after you. We're just following you around," Officer Calzada told Linda Brookings as she shopped for her sons. "We're gonna pay for this alarm clock and everything else too."
"I'm surprised," Brookings said. "Looks like a dream. Seems like a dream to me. I don't think it's real. I'm gonna wake up after a while."
The next person police stopped was Kiondria Byner, who came to Walmart with her 5 children to buy a Christmas tree. She left with a lot more.
"We've got a couple of officers. They'd like to take your kids around, get what you guys need," Calzada said. "On behalf of the Fort Worth Police Department, we're gonna give you a gift card for $1,000."
Byner put her hands to her face, and tears flowed.
"I was actually crying this morning because I lost $100," Byner said. "It's a holiday miracle for me. Might be small for someone else, but it's big to me."
"Very, very heartwarming experience today," Lt. MJ Williams, who adorned his police uniform with a string of gold garland, said. "We got to see and really help some people today."
At checkout, Byner's receipt totaled nearly $2,000. Walmart and Fort Worth Metro made up the difference.
"We made sure that this was literally the best Christmas this young lady has ever had," Calzada said.