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5-year-old girl buys ice cream for mourning state troopers to 'make them smile'

A 5-year-old Kentucky girl who saw a group of long-faced adults did what many an adult would do for a gloomy child: She bought them ice cream.
/ Source: TODAY

A 5-year-old Kentucky girl who saw a group of long-faced grown ups did what many an adult would do for a gloomy child: She bought them ice cream.

Isabella Gregory had stopped at a nearby McDonald’s to use the bathroom, but then spotted several of the Kentucky state troopers she had seen earlier that afternoon during a funeral procession for one of their fallen colleagues.

5-year-old Isabella Gregory and the state troopers she treated with ice cream.Courtesy of Sarah Yockey

She told her mom she wanted to get the officers ice cream using her allowance money.

“I told her that would be an amazing idea, so we did that,” Sarah Yockey, Isabella’s mom, told “As soon as we got done paying for the first couple of troopers, we saw more walk in. She said, ‘Mommy, there’s more. We have to buy more ice cream for them, too.’ So that’s what we did. She ended up buying a total of eight sundaes for all of them there.”

Yockey said they were in the area last Friday because her 7-year-old son had football practice nearby. Her children also paused to watch the funeral procession the troopers organized in honor of a fellow Kentucky State Police trooper who was fatally shot after a traffic stop earlier this month.

Isabella and her brother, watching the funeral procession for a fallen state trooper.Courtesy of Sarah Yockey

“Isabella wanted to treat them because she knew that their friend had died, and she wanted to make them smile,” Yockey said. “It made me feel good as a single mom knowing that I’m raising my kids in the right way, in a positive way. “

Isabella also ended up buying one of the officers a meal after he found himself 10 cents short at the register and had asked his friends for some money.

“Well, my daughter looked up and said, ‘Mommy, buy him his food with my money. Use your card,’ because her money is in an account attached to my debit card,” Yockey recalled. “She actually paid for his meal. He told me, ‘Ma’am, you didn’t have to do that.’ I said, 'I didn’t. She did.'”

The man bent down to thank Isabella, who went in for a big hug.

Isabella and Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Boyce, after she insisted on paying his meal with her allowance money.Courtesy of Sarah Yockey

Kentucky State Trooper Patrick Hamilton said Isabella’s gesture came at the perfect moment at the end of a taxing day.

“We were all emotionally and physically drained. None of us had ate since about 5:30 a.m. that morning,” he said in a note describing what happened to the public affairs office of the Kentucky State Police.

Hamilton and the other Kentucky troopers were joined by a sergeant from the neighboring Ohio Highway Patrol. One of the officers told Yockey he remembered seeing Isabella during the funeral procession, where she waved to everyone passing bay and even stood at attention for nearly 30 minutes after seeing a soldier across the street doing the same.

“Isabella and her mom thanked us and went on with their day. Trooper [Tony] Duncan and myself immediately paid Isabella's kind gesture forward and gave our ice cream to another family in the McDonald’s who had three little children,” Hamilton said. “We jokingly told the mother of that family that as much as we would like to enjoy the ice cream, we both had an upcoming physical fitness test and we were trying to cut back on the sweets.”

However, he noted that not everyone passed on the dessert: “Trooper Jeff Kelley thoroughly enjoyed his sundae.”

Follow writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.