Fort Worth police officers hand out turkeys instead of traffic tickets.
Credit: ©Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Family, friends, health – we’re all thankful for that stuff. Obviously. But those things can be hard to get excited about. We see our dumb friends all the time. However, getting a free turkey instead of an expensive traffic citation… that’s the kind of surprise that’ll smack you upside the head with Thanksgiving spirit.

Last week, police in Fort Worth, Texas, took a unique approach to law enforcement. After pulling over drivers for minor traffic violations, officers tried to build good will within the community just in time for Thanksgiving by handing out turkeys instead of tickets. According to local news station WFAA, five teams of officers handed out dozens of turkeys to drivers last Wednesday. One policeman, officer Anthony Colter, told WFAA he made five traffic stops for things like not wearing a seatbelt or failing to signal, but gave out a bird each time. “We're going to overlook that,” Colter was quoted as telling one driver. “Instead of giving out citations, we're going to give you a Thanksgiving turkey!”

Though helping people out with their Thanksgiving feast instead of cutting into their holiday shopping budget with a fine is certainly a cool gesture, I am left with a few questions. These people still broke the law, so technically, they’re being rewarded for being bad drivers, right? For instance, in a similar stunt in Virginia, police officers were pulling over good drivers to give them a free ice cream cone. In contrast, Fort Worth police are kind of giving the message that, hey, if you want a free turkey, drive around like a maniac! And who’s making the determination on when breaking the law is turkey-worthy? So failing to signal is not so terrible that you don’t deserve a turkey, but what about, say, going 45 in a 30 mph zone? Maybe if you run a red light all you get is a side of Brussels sprouts?

But regardless of any sort of mildly flawed logic in the gesture, the people who got free turkeys seemed grateful. “I'm pleased to see it, because there's so much hate in this country right now,” said Howard Miles who was rewarded with a turkey for having a problem with his registration. “To see brotherly love, it's very, very inspiring.” Maybe the answer to all of America’s problems is to just send everyone in the country a free turkey? I bet we could find a couple billion dollars in the federal budget for that.