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A 23-year-old father was caught shoplifting baby formula on Sunday, but instead of arresting him, four cops—and the store—chipped in to send the dad home with $80 worth of food for his 11-month-old.
An employee at a Roswell, New Mexico, Albertsons grocery store called police after spotting the dad smuggling canisters of formula into a baby carrier. When the police confronted the man, they learned that he had recently lost his job. “We just looked at each other and had that feeling that we should try to help this kid out,” Officer Joe Mason tells Yahoo Parenting. “We didn’t think he had any criminal intent so the manager decided not to press charges. We took him outside and talked with him about how he could get some help.”
Each of the four police officers on the scene contributed, as did the Albertsons, and bought the dad four canisters of formula. An older gentleman in the parking lot even handed the man $15, Mason says.
That evening, Sergeant Kim Northcutt shared the officers’ good deed in a Facebook post, calling it “old-fashioned compassion.” Northcutt wrote: “The man was brought to tears and told one officer he will never look at cops the same. Great job day shift. I am honored to be your Sergeant.” The post has 441 shares, with comments like, “Those are real cops right there,” and “Awesome display of kindness, compassion, and respect!”
"It’s why I signed up. I know it sounds corny, but I want to help people as much as I possibly can, especially in my own community,” Officer Chris Bradley, a dad, told local news station KOB4 of his good deed.
"People sometimes look at cops as cold and heartless, but this kind of thing happens so much more than people realize," Mason says. "We’ve had guys in the department buy homeless people food or clothes. We just happened to do this at the holiday season, so it’s getting more attention."
The officers are trying to help the father, who has a barber’s license, find a job, and Mason says he doesn’t expect to find him shoplifting again. “People from the community have sent in everything from cash to diapers and clothing,” Mason says. “I’m going to pick up a basket for him at a local business today.”
This isn’t the first act of kindness from officers this month. A police man was called to a Dollar General store in Alabama on Dec. 6 after a woman was caught shoplifting eggs to feed two daughters, her niece, and two young grandkids. Instead of arresting the grandmother, the officer bought her a carton of eggs. After a bystander’s video was uploaded to Facebook, donations for the family poured in.