Police Officer James Hurst had no idea he’d attract so much attention for simply doing his job. Yet, the humble Georgia cop is receiving praise all over the world for holding and comforting a child in need.
When a 16-month-old boy was found wandering the streets of Brownsville, GA on Monday without an adult present, Hurst was dispatched as back-up to look into the situation. Hurst then escorted the child to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah to be checked out. But while receiving a medical examination, scared and alone, the little boy began to sob.
“I asked the hospital staff if I can hold him to comfort him and soothe him a little bit to try to calm him down, to continue getting medical care,” Officer Hurst told WSAV. “And they said that was fine.”
The boy quickly fell asleep in Hurst’s arms, and the officer proceeded to stay with the boy for two hours, but never thought twice about his compassionate decision to help.
Being a father of two young boys, one with Down syndrome, Hurst told WSAV that he drew upon his personal experience as a dad and sitting in hospitals with his children to react to the situation.
“I just knew this child needed somebody to be there for him,” said Hurst, according to a release from the Department. “It was just human instinct — humanity.”
A photo of Hurst holding the young child was released on Facebook by the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, and has since gone viral with 8.2K likes and over 2.8K shares. But despite being described as going above and beyond, Hurst believes it was just another part of the job. Describing the public’s reaction as “quite overwhelming,” Hurst wants to make something clear:
“This job is so much more than just chasing the bad guys,” explains Hurst. “It’s what we do, every single day, not just me, but the 600 officers that are on this department … It’s just not captured. This one time it was captured.”
The child was reported to be safe and in good condition. The Georgia Department of Family & Children’s Services have taken over the case.