Walking up to the Rivermark location of Red Robin Restaurant on Saturday afternoon might have been a bit of a shock to some people. There were police officers all over the restaurant. They were outside, they were inside, they were…waiting tables?
Those who serve Santa Clara on a daily basis were serving members of the community in an entirely different way over the weekend – by exchanging in their handcuffs and guns for aprons and napkins and helping the staff at Red Robin do their job. Those who did well were rewarded with generous tips from satisfied and appreciative patrons.
The Red Robin Tip-A-Cop event, now in its seventh year, gives officers the opportunity to show their serving skills while being active among the community. Officers brought out food and mingled with diners to promote the goal of raising funds to benefit Special Olympics athletes across the Bay Area.
Outside of Red Robin’s front doors sat the department’s Dodge Charger D.A.R.E. car, tipping off potential diners by informing them that something was happening inside the restaurant. There were no flashy decorations inside the restaurant though – it looked the same as it always has. Denim donning, polo shirt wearing waiters and waitresses scurried from the kitchen to the dining room with drink and food orders, but there was one thing out of the ordinary – the police. Wearing their navy uniforms, officers were scattered throughout the restaurant, talking to diners about the cause and helping servers out when necessary.
According to Dorreen Roth, director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics, the Rivermark location raised $3,400 during the single day of work, and the Saratoga Red Robin location, which was partially staffed by Santa Clara’s officers, including Lieutenant Dan Winter who worked at both the Santa Clara and Saratoga locations, raised $1,099 for the cause.
“The staff of Red Robin was so great, they were all excited to help with the event…they contributed to make the Red Robin Tip A Cop so successful,” said Roth in an e-mail.
Red Robin is located at 3906 Rivermark Plaza. Information on the Special Olympics including future events involving the Santa Clara Police Department can be found at http://sonc.org.