A thank-you note left on a police officer's squad car after the Odessa, Texas, mass shooting went viral on social media. Now the woman who wrote the message and the police officer who found it have met for the first time.
On Sunday (local time), one day after the tragedy that left seven victims dead and 25 others injured, Corporal Gary Potter, a 24-year veteran of the Odessa Police Department, found flowers and a handwritten-note on his squad car.
"...I do not know you and you do not know me but I thank you for your sacrifice,” the note said.
“You put your life on the line every day to protect our community. I can not express how grateful I am. Thank you so much."
It was signed by Bria Montes.
Potter shared the note on Facebook, writing: “Wow that is a powerful message”.
“I’m sure she doesn’t know my story but let me tell you these acts of kindness and support that I see everyday are what keep me going and remind me why the risks we take will always be worth it.
“Thank you Bria Montes for this small act of appreciation, it means more to me than you can ever know...” he wrote.
Montes works as a physical therapy aide at Medical Centre Hospital, where shooting survivors recovered, and wanted to thank a local police officer.
“These officers are just selflessly going in there, trying to get all these people that are injured,” Montes told news station KOSA.
“Getting all these people that are hurt and trying to stop this (shooter) person as well.”
‘The killer looked right at them’
The note she left was one Potter said he desperately needed.
On Saturday, Potter was out of town on a fishing trip with a friend from work, his granddaughters, and his youngest son when he received a call from his wife that she and their daughter had escaped a terrifying situation.
"I could hear in her voice this was not a call I wanted to hear. She was in the car with our daughter... and was trying to keep it together for her as she told me that she was on 42nd street and that someone had just tried to shoot them and had shot a baby in the car behind them and someone else just ahead of them," Potter wrote on Facebook.
"She described how the killer looked right at them pointing his rifle out the window at them and firing indiscriminately."
After finding the note, Potter knew that he had to meet Montes. On Tuesday, outside Medical Centre Hospital, the two shared a hug and a heartfelt conversation.
A little kindness goes a LONG way. Bria Montes, an MCH employee, left some flowers and a thank you note on a random OPD after the tragic shootings. It was Cpl. Gary Potter's unit. He was so touched by Bria's note, he wanted to meet her and thank her. #permianbasinstrong pic.twitter.com/UiuJ6kQctN— MCHS Odessa (@MCHOdessa) September 4, 2019
“That [note] on my car that day just, man, I needed it,” Potter said to Montes in their meeting, as reported by KOSA. “I’d seen so much other stuff, but me and my family, my wife, my daughter appreciate it.”
Both Potter and Montes hope that their story will encourage people to thank other first responders.
“Just a thank you, a handshake, anything like that,” Potter said. “A handwritten note, it means the world. It’s more valuable than winning the lottery or something. It is very, very powerful.”
“Everyone can kind of feel encouraged to go do small stuff for officers, cause it really means a lot to them," Montes told the station.
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