A desperate young father is counting his blessings this holiday season after police who were called to arrest him for shoplifting instead pitched in to help him out.
The 23-year-old was caught smuggling canisters of baby formula into his baby carrier on Sunday. When police arrived on the scene, they learned that the young man had recently lost his job and was trying to feed his 11-month-old child.
“Everybody just kind of had that look on their face like, ‘We’ve got to do something here.’ I mean, it wasn’t like he was shoplifting liquor, he didn’t have any criminal intent. He wanted to feed his kid.” said Joe Mason, one of the responding officers.
Police talked with the store, and they agreed not to press charges. The four responding officers then decided to chip in and help the young man buy formula for his baby, according to KOB4. The store itself and an elderly gentleman who saw the event unfold also made donations to help the young man.
Altogether, the father left with $80 worth of baby supplies, according to Yahoo News. The officers also gave him information on local public assistance and contacted people in the community to try to help him find a job.
“He was very appreciative; he told me he would never look at cops the same way again,” said officer Mason.
None of the responding officers expect to find the young man shoplifting again.
“Everybody learns their lessons different ways. I think this way, the guy realized that people actually do care and they want to help him. I think with him knowing that, he’s going to better himself,” said officer Chris Bradley.
Police Sergeant Kim Northcutt posted about the incident on her Facebook page to raise awareness of the good deed, saying, “Great job day shift. I am honored to be your Sergeant.” The post, which retells the story of what happened, has been shared on Facebook 491 times.