A police officer’s recent act of kindness has been spreading around the web, and in the process, restoring faith in humanity.
On Saturday, July 22nd, Officer Bennett Johns was summoned to a local Laurel, Maryland grocery store to reprimand a woman who was stealing. When security caught her, the unidentified mother had been attempting to shoplift two packs of diapers, despite already paying for her other groceries.
While the lawful thing to do would be arrest the woman, Officer Johns decided to assist her instead. A Facebook post from the Laurel Police Department that has since gone viral, explains the actions Officer Johns took that day.
The heartwarming message, which to date has received 4.1K likes and 1,060 shares, explains how the mother ran out of money while purchasing her items, but desperately needed the diapers for her little one. “Officer Johns considered the situation then decided to purchase the diapers out of his own pocket so that the young child would not suffer,” the post reads. While the woman did receive a criminal citation for theft, she did not have to go without the necessities for her child that day thanks to Johns’ charity.
Babble chatted with Audrey Barnes, Director of the Department of Communications for the City of Laurel, who was able to give further insight into the situation. She reveals, “He [Officer Johns] was raised by a single mom and saw her struggle just like this young mother.” Clearly, this interaction between he and the woman was more than just a simple act of giving for the policeman. “Those childhood experiences made him empathize with this young mom and what she was going through,” Barnes adds.
The woman was “grateful and thankful for Officer Johns’ kindness,” but the kindness didn’t end there. The police department further extended their assistance to the mom, referring her to Social Services and a local organization, Laurel Advocacy and Referral Group. According to Barnes, the organization serves family meals, has a food and donation pantry, and offers a number of additional services for struggling Laurel-area families. Thankfully, the mom will have a place to go the next time she needs a helping hand.
You know the old saying, “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” — Officer Johns is practicing just that. He helped the young mother short-term, but also found a way to teach her how to help herself in the future.
The reaction to the rookie officer’s actions has been overwhelming, proving that a little bit of care goes a long way. “We have been flooded with primarily words of praise from people nationwide after learning of Officer Johns’ gesture,” Barnes admits.
“The Laurel Police Department is performing acts of kindness every single day. Most of it goes unrecognized, but the Officers would do it anyway because that’s the culture here.”
The world could use more people like Officer Johns. Keep up the good work, rookie!