This NYPD officer was an Irish tourist’s right hand man.
When a frantic woman and her two daughters came running up to NYPD Officer Ricardo Dicandia, 35, who is from Long Island, he listened. The woman, Geraldine McKenna, who was visiting the city for the first time from the Emerald Isle, had won the Hamilton lottery but was $20 short.
"I was walking my beat like I usually do and I was approached by a woman and her two daughters. They were kind of upset and had a frantic look about them," said Dicandia on Wednesday, adding he hasn’t seen the show himself. "They were like ‘Please can you help us.’ "
They had tried their hand at the lottery and failed at least three times before, he said. Now, when they had finally won, they didn’t have the money.
"They were almost like in tears, hoping, and I couldn’t say no," Dicandia said, adding that McKenna said she had lost her wallet and the tickets were to celebrate her daughter’s birthday. "I was just glad I could help them."
So rather than make her "Wait for It," Dicandia "understood the magnitude of the emergency" and pulled a crisp Andrew Jackson out of his own pocket and gave it to her "so she didn’t have to throw away her shot," according to a post by the NYPD on its Facebook page.
The girls broke out crying, Dicandia said, and then ran off so they could get the tickets.
McKenna was so grateful, she wrote the mayor’s office a thank-you note a few weeks later and tried to return the money.
"We were totally overjoyed and beyond grateful when he opened his wallet and just handed us $20. My eldest daughter was crying when she was speaking to him," she wrote, according to the NYPD’s Facebook page. "It was without doubt the best night that would not have been possible without Officer Dicandia’s generosity and kindness.”
But Dicandia, who has 10 years on the job, is humble, and didn’t even remember the interaction at first when McKenna’s letter arrived in October.
"All the tourists I come into contact with, I try to make their experience in Times Square a positive one," he said.
With Rachel Uda