Sometimes when you’re up against a wall, you don’t see many good options. That’s exactly how a 14-year old boy in Rome, Georgia, must have recently felt.

The kid took a chance and tried to lift some candy from a local store. Before he knew it, police caught him.
The police stopped the kid in his tracks. He admitted he tried to steal and gave all of the candy back.

He then got a ride home in the squad car. One can only imagine the embarrassment, nervousness, and terror that swirled up in him as the police drove.

At some point along the way, the officers learned that there was no food at the boy’s house. There was nothing in the fridge, nothing in the cupboard.
This was a definite “Old Mother Hubbard” situation. The two officers had a choice.

Facebook: Rome Police Department

They could leave the boy with some phone numbers of local organizations he could contact for help. Or they could first get him some immediate assistance.

Lieutenant Walters and Officer Brunson got back into the squad car with the boy. This time, though, they entered not as police with a suspect, but as a bit of a joint rescue operation.
The three drove to the grocery store where the officers purchased, on their own, at least a week’s worth of groceries. It was an amazingly selfless act that will change this young man’s world view in a number of ways.

In a time of continued tension between various police departments and their communities, here’s a great example of one doing things right. It would have been easy to come down on the young would-be thief, but these two officers were able to look past the crime and see the person.
It’s something we all need to do more often. There’s generally a reason for the way that a person is acting or for something they say or do.

If we can step back for a moment and listen to their story, we might find that there’s more there than we originally saw. We might also find that a simple act of kindness can affect a life in untold ways.