Police officers see it all from sunrise to sunset, and even in-between these two daily occurrences, officers are on guard to be the peacekeepers. They see the human psyche at its worst; certainly at its most challenged.
Three New York City Police officers were recently confronted with a situation that was fairly routine; a lady who was shoplifting at a Manhattan Whole Foods store. The woman was caught in the act by a store security guard; she had stuffed several prepared-food containers in her bag.
Their response was anything but routine. They did NOT arrest the woman.
“When you look at someone’s face and see that they need you and they’re actually hungry, it’s pretty difficult as a human being to walk away from something like this,” explains Police Officer Lt. Louis Sojo.
“We’ll pay for her food.”
The woman was crying and completely taken back as they walked her over to the cashier to pay for the items.
“She was extremely emotional. She did thank us. She was pretty much speechless at what happened.”
A local documentary filmmaker Paul Bozymowski snapped a photograph which he shared on social media and said, “The situation completely turned around in an instant. That’s what moved me the most.”
More than 41 million Americans face hunger, including nearly 13 million children, reports the USDA. In America, hunger is caused by poverty and financial resources at both the national and local levels. 1 in 6 American children may not know where their next meal is coming from, reports Do Something .Org.
As I see it there are two important indicators when it comes to identifying crime, and the criminals who act out. There are those who do it for evil purposes. Some do it for the sport of it; others do it to cause harm or pain to a fellow human being. And then there are those that do something they know is wrong, but they do it out of need.
Crime is not always crime. These officers recognized that truth in the instant of the moment.
They assessed the human psyche and recognized immediately that this was a cry for help. They dug into their own wallets and made the situation right.
As Paul, the filmmaker stated above, “The situation completely turned around in an instant.”
The Next Leap Forward
Perhaps the reason our passenger side view mirror states the not-so-obvious “objects in mirror are closer than they appear,” is that many details in life are not so obvious. Those moments require you look at the situation from a different lens.
Like the movie, Sgt. Will Gardner, played and directed by Max Martini, an Iraq War veteran who takes a motorcycle trip across America to pick up the pieces of his life. When he loses the motorcycle and finds himself with no ride, and no way forward; he ends up on the streets with no money, hungry and no wheels.
The realization of that moment was powerful. Here is a man who fought for his country, put it all on the line, and when he needed help the most, where was his country?
We never really know the ‘true’ situation or circumstances from a quick glance.
Important for each of us to take a page out of the Whole Foods story above; and react in the way the heroic NYC Officers did, truly the world would be a better place for each of us!