A third grader at Cider Mill School who took it upon himself to clean a cafeteria table where there had been a spill was the first young person in town to receive the Wilton Police Department’s new kindness award.

The name of the student could not be released because he is a minor, said School Resource Officer Diane MacLean, who gave the award, a souvenir “ticket” plus a gift certificate to one of several local businesses participating in the program, operated in cooperation with the Kiwanis Club.

“The first one I handed out was to a student who took it upon himself at Cider Mill to clean off the cafeteria table, without being instructed to do so,” MacLean said.

She goes throughout the schools and asks teachers and administrators if they know of a student who has shown kindness, respect or responsibility.

She’s not the only one giving out the tickets and gift certificates.

“One sergeant gave one out at an EMS house call, because the child acted responsibly,” MacLean said.

The award looks like a ticket. It is long and rectangular, and it has the student’s name and the date, with a line to describe what they did. On the top it says C.A.R.E.

“They’re excited to be awarded with a gift ticket, and when I throw in a gift card, they are floored. They’re so happy about that,” MacLean said.

Scoop’s Ice Cream, Connecticut Coffee, Orem’s Diner and Pinocchio Pizza are the businesses that have agreed to provide gift cards for the winners.

When school is out, the program will continue during the summer with bicycle patrol officers who will look for displays of kindness, integrity and effort.

“It’s a good thing to reinforce,” MacLean said. “If I see somebody go out of their way to hold the door open, I like to reward that, when I see they are well mannered.”

The department hopes other businesses will get on board and provide gift certificates so they can continue the awards program into the next school year.