The 12-year-old wanted to get something nice for her 5-year-old sister but couldn't afford to buy the shoes.
Compassion can go a long way and quite literally change someone's life. That's what happened when one Atlanta police officer decided to let a little girl off the hook for shoplifting. Che Milton responded to a 911 call at a neighborhood dollar store. When he got to the scene he learned that a 12-year-old girl was trying to steal a $2 pair for her 5-year-old sister but got caught. Instead of punishing her, Milton decided to do something that would have a deeper impact. He asked the girl to show him where she lived. When she took him to a small house in a rough part of town, his heart was crushed.
Thanks to this officer who demonstrated his humanity first.— Djenana Bahar (@nanakeba57) May 5, 2017
The officer saw that bedsheets were strewn on the floor because the family did not have enough beds for all of the children. There was no furniture in the house except for a couch and the kitchen contained no food. “I saw the conditions. There was no food in the house and the kids were there,” Milton told CNN.
He met the young girl's mother who could not get a job as she had to take care of the children. She told him their's was a family of seven: mom, dad and five children. He learned that the family could not afford to buy the children new shoes, but the young girl wanted to surprise her 5-year-old sister with a pair.
Milton decided to help the family in any way he could and first ordered four large pizzas for the family to share. He later called the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services to connect them with a social worker. Over the next few months, he even kept checking in on the family, dropping off diapers or clothes. Everyone was in praise of the officer's act of duty of going above and beyond to help someone in need.
“It’s definitely been a blessing. It’s like a prayer was answered through him,” the mom said. Even Milton’s sergeant lauded his kindness. “The way that Officer Milton handled this incident showed that not only is he here to enforce the law but also to go the extra mile and be a bigger part of the community he is policing,” the department said.
After the department shared the moving story of Milton and the young girl on Facebook, @linda.longratte commented on the post, writing, "Just read this story. I have tears in my eyes, not only for what this officer, the department and the community have done for this family but for the 12-year-old girl stealing a pair of shoes for her little sister. God bless each and every person who has helped this family. God bless the family!! Happy Sunday morning from Iowa!"
@kathleen.mclaughlinvelasquez added, "Please tell Officer Milton how thankful I am for loving men like him. Sir, you are an honorable person who brings hope and strength to the badge. Your actions show real strength, real intelligence and the heart we hope for in people in positions of power like police. Thank you for using your power to help an entire family. I just can't say enough how your actions while in the line of duty show the public that police are to be trusted and not feared. You reinforce to me that although there are men and women wearing the uniform who make poor choices in the line of duty, there are officers out there like you. My students will hear this story today to lessen the fear they feel toward law enforcement. Thank you."
Milton was overwhelmed by the outpour of support that followed once the story broke out. "Thank you everyone," Milton said per WSB-TV. "I really, really appreciate all the kind words. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you all." The child's family also received overwhelming support from the public after the police department shared their story online. Many donated clothes, diapers, blankets and other resources to make life easier for them.