The video of a rookie Alabama police officer who responded to a shoplifting call at a Dollar General store this weekend went viral after he paid for the dozen eggs the grandmother was allegedly trying to steal for her hungry children, MyFoxAl.com reported.
"All across the U.S., law enforcement officers do stuff like this on a daily basis. I felt like it was the right thing to do," William Stacy, the Tarrant police officer, told the station.
It was a routine call. But the circumstances were not.
Helen Johnson, a grandmother, was short on cash because her daughter's welfare check was lost in the mail and her disability check is not set to be delivered until this week. The family, which includes a niece, two daughters and two grandchildren ages 1 and 3, had gone two days without food, she told AL.com.
She was desperate and went to the Dollar General store with $1.25. She was 50 cents short for the eggs and stuffed five eggs into her pocket, the Al.com report said.
"Of course when I put them in my jacket pocket they broke," she told the paper. "I'm not a good thief at all."
Stacy was the first cop at the scene and talked with the store.
"You can't let kids go hungry. I ran inside, bought the eggs for her and walked out and handed her the eggs," Stacy said. "She tried to give me all the money she had on her which was $1.25. I told her to keep it. I don't want it. The way she can repay me is to never do this [shoplift] again."
Stacy gave her a hug and left, but what he didn't know was that another customer, Robert Tripp, recorded the exchange.
"He approached it like 'I'm going to talk to her to see what is going on, assess the situation, see what is going on first' besides attacking her. I thought it was pretty cool," Tripp said.
Police and the store will not press charges.