Being a police officer is hard work. Every day, they put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities. But because of the actions of a few, police officers are often under-appreciated. It’s sad because their job is difficult enough without having to see the negative the bad press they get in the media. And that’s why I’m always touched when I see someone who appreciates all the good that the police do — and lets them know it.

Nine-year-old Noah was eating breakfast with his mom when he noticed a police officer sitting at a nearby table. He wanted to talk to officer, but he was nervous and didn’t know how to approach him. Noah’s mother, Amanda, wondered why her son was so interested in the police officer. Then, Noah told her that he had to say something to say to him, but was too shy. Soon, though, Noah had an idea. He still had his birthday money and decided to use it to pay the officer’s bill. Noah’s mom helped him talk to a waiter, and they soon had officer’s receipt in their hands. Noah wrote a message on it and ran up to the officer and put it on his table.

When the officer read what Noah wrote, he was instantly touched. The note said, “I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service.” Noah and Amanda saw the officer’s look of surprise as he read the message. A second later, he jumped out of his seat and was at their table. The officer, named Eddie, works for the local police department. He thanked his young admirer and asked to take a picture with him.

“It meant everything. It meant that I’m supposed to wake up every morning and put on this uniform and go out there and do what I do. You know? It means that I need to keep trying to be a good example to all these young guys,” officer Eddie later said. Noah has dreamed of becoming a police officer for the last four years. “I’m going to make the world a better place and capture the bad guys,” he told Inside Edition. The police department was so impressed by Noah’s gesture that they posted a picture on their Facebook page to pay homage to him.