Togo’s owner helps give out kindness
Courtesy of Kayla Serrato/Madera County Sheriff’s Office
Madera Togo’s Sandwiches owner Jose Carillo gives an unsuspecting driver a Random Act of Kindness box with about $300 in gift cards from Madera businesses. Madera County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Corner helped Carillo identify drivers who needed a Random Act of Kindness.
Jose Carillo has been the owner of Togo’s Sandwiches (2180 W. Cleveland, #120) at the Commons at the Madera Fair shopping center for the past three years, but hardly anyone knows it.
However, when he started to lift some of the debt off his shoulders, Carillo felt the need to give back.
“After three years and being able to pay off my debts, I wanted to give back to the community,” he said. “I was going to do it myself. Nick Salinas told me to see if local businesses wanted to join me. It was pretty smart because it worked out pretty good.”
Carillo reached out to eight other businesses to collect gift cards and then partnered with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office last week to hand out about $3,000 in Random Acts of Kindness, Spring Edition.
“Every gift we gave away had about $300 in gift cards and we did 10,” he said. “I wanted to give it to anyone. They said they could pull people over and give them the reward. It would be more interesting instead of going to random people.”
Carillo approached MCSO and presented his idea and the sheriff’s office was on board from the start.
“Operation Random Acts of Kindness Spring Edition was a huge success,” Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue said. “We are so grateful to our amazing local businesses who contributed to this effort. It is the generosity of these local businesses that made this giving event possible. Your hearts for our community remind us why Madera County is such a wonderful place to serve.”
“It was kind of last minute; normally, we do it around Christmas. We were approached by some community members to do this in the spring. Jose spearheaded it and were asked if we were interested in participating. At the sheriff’s office, we’re never going to miss an opportunity to give back to the community we serve and love so much. Without their participation and willingness to bring this forward, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Carillo rode along with Deputy Steven Corner to find the right people to hand out a Random Act of Kindness.
“We looked for minor equipment or minor traffic infractions,” Pogue said. “We made contact with the drivers and the deputy made the determination if the driver was in need of a fix-it ticket, violation or warning. If they were so inclined, the deputy offered a Random Act of Kindness.”
Once a person was pulled over, Carillo said it was like a range of emotions in handing out the gift cards.
“At first they are upset,” Carillo said. “They get pulled over for little things and they got mad for getting out of the vehicle. That’s when I come and give them the gift. They were happy and it was exciting. It brings joy to me. They are happy and it makes me happy to give it away, especially to ones that really need it.”
Not only do the people receiving the random act get emotional, Pogue said it affects the deputies and anyone involved, as well.
“It’s a pretty emotional experience for both the person on the receiving end, but to the deputies and the community members that able to participate,” he said. “It’s a very heart warming experience to give back in a generous way to an unsuspecting person.
“Often deputies interact with the public under the worst circumstances. They call us sometimes on the worst days of their lives and often the situation is traumatic. Opportunities like these give us the chance to connect and get to know the community we derive on a positive level and build those relationships. I’m so grateful that we had the chance to participate in this wonderful event.”
The more Carillo can get out of debt, the more he would like to do events like this to help people out. He has become increasingly popular on the Madera To Go Facebook page with his “Jose’s Way” of making sandwiches.
“I grew up here and this is my town,” he said. “I never go out there and say I’m the owner. I’ve never been that person. Social media helped let people know about me. I love it. It feels great. It’s amazing and it’s a good feeling.”
For Pogue, participating in the Random Acts of Kindness is another way his office can give back to the community.
“2020 brought unprecedented changes and challenges to everyone,” he said. “Our office, we’re more committed than ever to support our community members and local economy.”
Random Acts of Kindness, Spring Edition
Sugar Pine Smokehouse