Last month, a woman in Melbourne, Australia, was quietly filming two police officers in front of a grocery store. They had no idea they were being recorded, but what the woman captured has been an encouragement to many, as the video has gone viral.
The situation started with a complaint sent to police about a disturbance in front of the Ashwood Woolworths supermarket on May 30. When the cops arrived, they met a homeless man who was very polite.
Shopper Adele Barbaro, who was at the store to get groceries and diapers, noticed the two police officers weren’t hurriedly forcing the homeless man out.
“As the officers approached him, instead of saying ‘time to move on’ or ‘you know you can’t be here’, one of them said, ‘What brings you out in the cold tonight mate?’” Barbaro posted on Facebook.
“I heard him talk about being hungry and the iPads came out as they took details, and as I made my way through the automatic doors I could hear the officers say ‘We just wanna make sure your OK mate?’”
Barbaro said she saw the cops buying a roasted chicken, bread rolls, milk and other basics, and then she suspected they were up to much good.
“That is when it hit me,” Barbaro continued on Facebook. “They were not shopping for themselves. We ended up at the checkout at the same time, they had split up and seem to do half the groceries each and both pulling out wallets/purses to pay half each.
“These 2 weren’t rookies, they clearly knew the difference between a scammer and someone who was genuinely hungry. As they went outside I overhead them check again that he had somewhere to stay tonight and then they handed him the bag of food with respect, compassion and kindness.”
Caught red-handed in their good deed, First Constable Sheridan Jones and Constable Simon Jacobson later told their side of the story to 7News.
They said it had been cold out — about 37 degrees Fahrenheit — and when they asked, they found out that the man hadn’t had a proper meal for 24 hours. He was clutching a bottle of chocolate milk that he was making last, since he didn’t know when he’d get another chance to eat.
Jacobson said the man seemed extremely genuine, and they wanted to help him.
“So we just sort of said, ‘What do you like to eat?’ and he said, ‘Don’t get us anything’,” Jones recalled. “And we just said, ‘Well you can either come in with us and choose something or we’ll surprise you.'”
The homeless man chose the latter, so the two officers entered the store and started buying items they thought would be useful. The man accepted the food they’d selected, and they left the area, not knowing their interaction had been filmed.
Jones stressed, though, for all the commendation they’ve received, these small acts of kindness always go on — we just don’t always see them.
“Just want to point out that this is the sort of stuff that members are doing most days of the week and just goes unnoticed,” she said. “And I think it’s just the fact that she (Barbaro) was there at the time we did it that it has sort of shown the public that these are the things that go on as well as the other stuff.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.