Shoe shopping is not necessarily something they teach you in police academy, but two cops went above and beyond the call of duty for a little boy in need of shoes recently, and the internet can’t get enough of it.
A sergeant and officer of the Tukwila, Wash., Police Department were patrolling at a park last week when they noticed a little boy “running around in torn dirty socks and bleeding from a decent sized cut on the bottom of his foot,” according to a post on the Police Department’s Facebook page. After cleaning up and bandaging the little boy’s foot, they asked where his shoes were. “Their new friend told them that he didn’t have any shoes because the pair he had was too small for his feet to fit in.”
Sooo…Sergeant Modest and Officer Bashful (names have been changed to protect their bashfulness) were patrolling on foot…
Their response was simple, obvious, and yet so sweet. They bought the little guy shoes.
“The sergeant ran out and grabbed a pair of shoes for him while the officer kept him and his friends company.” He came back with shoes and, as if the act wasn’t sweet enough, a bunch of Popsicles. The officer helped the young one — whose age is unknown — tie his shoes, and they all enjoyed the Popsicles together.
The Facebook post has won the hearts of followers, gaining 2.3K reactions and 600 comments as of this story.
You may be wondering why they didn’t do more. Why was this child without shoes and why was he running around, unsupervised, with an open wound? “There was no abuse or neglect suspected on the part of his parents, and he did not voice any concerns regarding his parents or his home life,” insists Victor Masters, of the Tukwila Police Department’s public information office. “It was mainly a case of a child that did not have basic everyday necessities that many of us take for granted.”
Of course, although, thanks to these thoughtful officers, the story has a heartwarming ending, the reality that this child lacked such a basic necessity is not something to celebrate. “Approximately 12 percent of the Tukwila School District’s student body are reported to be homeless,” Masters tells Yahoo Wellness.
Twelve percent might not sound like much, but when compared to the country’s statistics, it’s dauntingly high. In 2014-15, about 2.5 percent of students in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools were reported as homeless children or youth. Even 2.5 is too many homeless children.
So, what’s the problem in Tukwila? “As a region, we have seen housing and cost-of-living rates go up drastically over the past 10 years,” Masters says. “As a result, more people are having to get by with less to cover the rising costs of living. Our officers encounter people in need, people in mental crisis and those that struggle to get by daily.”
Tukwila officers frequently use their own money to help someone in need. “The same sergeant, who has been with us for 13 years and got this child a pair of shoes, has done so on multiple other occasions for homeless residents and those in need that he has come across.” He once purchased shoes for a homeless resident who was limping down the street because his had no soles.
“A day after we posted this story, another officer spent the majority of his shift helping a homeless resident who in the past has had suicidal ideations obtain an ID card so that he could gain admittance into a homeless shelter that required an ID, and then gave him money out of his own pocket to get dinner,” Masters says. “In the heat of summer, other officers with our department have bought gallons of water and food for homeless residents and regularly check in on them to make sure they are doing OK. And in the winter, they have provided them with jackets, shoes and other articles of clothing to help protect them from the elements. We strive to build a level of respect and rapport with everyone that we come into contact with regardless of their socioeconomic status.” He says they also work closely with mental health providers, the city’s Human Services Department, the Tukwila Fire Department and nonprofit groups “to provide services and resources to those in need.”
This type of kindness isn’t uncommon. Last year, a photo went viral of two police officers who rescued a toddler from an abandoned home and bought him Chicken McNuggets. People were equally moved when a couple of police officers personally replaced the $20 stolen from a boy’s lemonade stand last month.
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