Minnesota Police Officer Spent Last Day on the Job Giving Gift Cards to Strangers

"People need groceries, and kids need toys," Brian Peters said.

— -- Before he left his job at the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota, Commander Brian Peters had one thing he wanted to do on his last day -- say thank you to the city he loves.

Peters decided to use the money he made for a day's work, as well as the $10 per year he earned from the police association for his service, to give back to his community.

"I've got nothing but good things from the city as well as the citizens," Peters, 42, told ABC News. "Why don't I take what I make in a day and add that $120 that the [police] association was going to give me, and I'll just round it up to $500 and get some gift certificates to give to people."

So after 14 years serving the city as a police officer, Peters spent his last day doing just that. Using his own money, Peters, who lives in Andover, Minnesota, said he purchased five gift cards from Target and five gift cards from the grocery chain Cub Foods worth $50 each and handed them out to strangers in Brooklyn Center.

"People need groceries, and kids need toys," Peters said. "My goal was to walk around the city and just find people that could maybe use a little extra cash or income to buy the kids some toys."

Peters said it took him about two and a half hours to give away all 10 gift cards and that he was able to put smiles on a lot of people's faces, including one women he stopped after noticing the condition of her car.

"Her car was really old and really damaged. I saw that her windshield wipers were stuck in the up position," Peters recalled. "I explained what I was doing and gave her a gift card to Cub Foods, and immediately, she lit up with a smile and started crying."

Peters added, "She said, 'You won't believe how much this helps.' And she said, 'Can I get out of the car and give you a hug?' And I said 'Absolutely.'"

Once people got over the initial shock of what he was doing, Peters said he received a lot more hugs that day.

"In light of how law enforcement was viewed these days, it was also a good thing for people to understand that police officers can be good. Not everyone is bad," Peters said.

Monique Drier, who supervises the joint community police partnerships for Brooklyn Center and was with Peters when he gave out the gift cards, said Peters has always wanted to give back and didn't really want the attention.

"He didn't even have a going away party," Drier told ABC News. "He wants something in the community."

"That’s the kind of person he was. He’s always tried to remember the human side of law enforcement. He was a great commander and will be dearly missed," Brooklyn Center Police Commander Tony Gruenig told ABC News.

Peters, who starts his new job as the manager of Target's global crisis command center on Monday, said he still wants to continue giving back to the community.

"Community service is extremely important, and when you're fortunate in life, you should give back to others who aren't as fortunate," Peters said. "That's what makes the world go 'round."