Patrons ‘tip deputies’ to benefit Special Olympics

Here’s why everyone got especially good service at a Gateway area restaurant on a Saturday, not long ago …

At the door of the Mall 205 Red Robin restaurant in outer East Portland are MCSO Deputy Chris Hope, and Oregon Special Olympian bowlers Ben Fields and Collin Pigeon.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Some customers visiting the Red Robin’s Mall 205 restaurant looked puzzled as they entered and beheld a contingent of men and women from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) on October 22.

This time they weren’t tracking down criminals, but instead were serving as “celebrity wait staff” at the location – hoping for “tips”, all of which would go directly to Special Olympics Oregon, to providing training and competition opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

MCSO Deputy Mbete Dunbar busses a table for guest Kimber Gillaspy, family, and friends.

The event, called “Tip-a-Cop”, is part of a worldwide effort by law enforcement officers to raise money and public awareness for Special Olympics – as we were told by MCSO Chief Deputy Law Enforcement Division Jason Gates.

“This is a long-standing tradition we have, waiting on customers at the Red Robin restaurants all over the state today, hoping for donations to help continue the Special Olympics Oregon and their mission,” said Gates to East Portland News.

Mall 205 Red Robin General Manager Phillip Herbst visits with MCSO Chief Deputy Law enforcement Division Jason Gates.

Special Olympics runs year-’round with all types of events, sports, and games, Gates remarked. “This helps out kids with special needs and disabilities in building their self esteem and camaraderie, and learning about leadership and sportsmanship.”

Nobody from MCSO was “on the clock” during the event – although some had just gotten off working a full shift, and others were about to go on duty, making it a 100% volunteer effort, observed Gates.

“What it means to me, personally, is that we want to have a relationship with all facets of our community,” Gates pointed out. “We want to make sure that we are part of their support system, and part of their family.”

MCSO Internal Affairs Inspector Travis Gullberg cheerfully busses tables, to help raise money for Special Olympics Oregon.

“The deputies are very engaging with both our team and the guests; and they’re very helpful, and our service team really likes that,” said Mall 205 Red Robin General Manager Phillip Herbst.

“It’s true, this is a commercial establishment, but it’s important to do this because we support this organization,” said Herbst. “We believe in taking care of our local community, and doing what we can.”

Learn more about Special Olympics Oregon by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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