A kind-hearted police officer in North Carolina was spotted selflessly taking a moment out of his day to share lunch with a homeless woman.
Officer Michael Rivers of the Goldsboro Police Department in North Carolina was on duty when he came across a homeless lady he hadn’t seen before, despite working as a cop for nearly a decade.
The officer said the woman’s shirt, which read ‘HOMELESS. THE FASTEST WAY TO BECOMING A NOBODY,’ was what initially caught his eye as he drove by her.
He had his windows down, so the two made eye contact and acknowledged each other with a simple, “hey,” and then he drove off. But something kept tugging at him to go back.
Rivers told CNN:
“God put it on my heart to get her lunch. So I turned around, and I asked her, ‘Hey, did you eat today?’ And she said, ‘No.'”
He then went and bought some pepperoni and cheese pizzas and returned to sit down with the woman by the side of the road, who identified herself as Michelle.
As the two were chatting, the moment was caught on camera by passer-b, Cassie Lea Parker, whose husband Chris Barnes subsequently shared the photo on social media.
“Cassie was out on her lunch break and observed Goldsboro’s Finest enjoying lunch with a homeless person.”
“Law enforcement does so much for our community, with a lot of it going unnoticed. We see you, Goldsboro P.D. Keep up the good work.”
Rivers was indeed doing good work as he spoke to the woman at length and discovered that she has a 12-year-old daughter battling liver disease and in foster care, as well as a 23-year-old son.
Her husband, also homeless, stood across the street while the two ate and talked.
Rivers felt that both police officers and the homeless are perhaps closer in their perceptions of the world than most think.
The homeless, he said, are often shunned by society, and criticized for bringing the situation on themselves.
‘Homeless people are just people who are down on their luck. It can happen to anybody.”
He also felt that cops were viewed negatively, simply focusing on the ‘bad app.’
“I come to work and my method is, ‘Who can I bless today? Who can I make smile?’ I’m not the one that wants to take somebody’s father or mother and put them in jail.”
The photo of Rivers and the homeless woman has also caught the attention of Rivers’ senior Police Chief, Michael West, who congratulated his charge on his humanitarian approach to the beat.
West told CNN:
“The circumstances around our job are often an unpleasant call to service, but this picture just shows we’re human like anyone else, and any chance we get to serve the community and help people, we take that chance.”
“I’m very fortunate to have Officer Rivers in our department.”