ANTIGO - You'll always find 11-year-old Mara Antone wearing her helmet while she's on a bike. Last week, after leaving the Antigo Boys and Girls Club, she had an unexpected encounter.
"I was riding home and I saw a cop car go and I waved," said Mara.
A police officer pulled over next to Mara and gave her a coin.
"I hesitated and I was like, 'Thanks,'" said Mara with a smile.
Mara then rode her bike home and told her mom what had happened.
"I got pulled over by a cop," Mara told her mom. "But it was good!"
Mara's mom, Ashley, stresses to all her children the importance of being safe on bikes, which is why wearing a helmet is a must. So, when an Antigo police officer gave Mara a "Culver's Coin" for wearing her helmet, Ashley was beyond happy.
"It was awesome to have the officers interact like that and back up what is happening at home," said Ashley.
"There are a lot of kids doing good things out there," said Antigo Police Chief Eric Roller. "It's good to have the officers see that, too."
Local restaurants like McDonald's and Culver's donate the coins and coupons to the Antigo Police Department.
"We give to them," said Culver's Crew Chief Tina Dal Santo. "They give to us and it's just kind of a roundabout thing with a small community."
Now, Antigo Officers like Kyle Schilling are making sure to have those positive interactions. Schilling gave his first "Culver's Coin" to a young boy riding his bike with a helmet on. He says moments like that will always stick with him.
"It's going to go a long way with them. [It helps] make them trust us and possibly influence their future," said Schilling.
It was a similar gesture that went a long way with Mara and one that will hopefully secure that other children wear their helmets, too.
"I want my friends to be safe and I don't want them to not show up at school the next day because they weren't wearing a helmet," said Mara.
The officer who originally gave Mara the coin did not come forward at first, because he says he was just doing his job.
Ashley thanked the police department through a private message, which the department then shared on Facebook.