By Louise Bevan
After responding to a call about a person loitering behind a gas station, Florida sheriff’s deputies saw there was more to the story: the man had no shoes, and he was hungry. Thus the kindhearted officers went above and beyond their call of duty to offer a solution.
In the bodycam footage shot in the Trinity area north of Tampa on June 14, Cpl. Dan Mills and Dep. Austin Cloutier of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office approached the man to check on his welfare. The sheriff’s office shared the footage on Facebook.
“You ain’t got shoes, my dude?” one officer asks, before the other ventures into a nearby store to buy a pair of flip-flops. Bringing the shoes back to the police cruiser, he cuts the tags, then drops the shoes to the ground for the man to slip his feet into.
Before parting ways, the officer has another intuition. He asks the man if he’s hungry and gets a “Yes,” to which he replies, “Let me see what I can do.”
The officer walks into the gas station and he’s soon out again with a hoagie. Then, after checking in with the man—”You got shoes and you got food. Now, you good?”—both officers advise him to move on.
Running into a grateful citizen on the street, one deputy reasons, “Can’t let a human being walk around with no shoes.”
Hundreds of netizens left Facebook comments commending the kind act.
“Love the fact the officer cared to do this, but also note that he proceeded to do his job at the end. So proud,” wrote one person.
“Officer, you emulate what we teach our young,” wrote another. “You make a difference and you teach us how to make a difference. It’s all about the ripple effect.”
According to Amanda Hunter, public information manager for the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, it wasn’t the first time Pasco deputies have helped people in need, Faith Pot reports. Hunter claimed the majority of Pasco’s deputies enroll out of a desire to help people.
Their motto? “We fight as one.”
Just four days after those deputies helped the barefoot man at the Trinity area gas station, four other officers from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office—Dep. Bobby Ashley, Dep. Elizabeth Ulibarri, Dep. Anthony Princiotta, and Dep. Marquis Wright—responded to calls to check the welfare of a family sitting by the side of a highway in the Hudson area.
They spoke to the father, who claimed he was looking for stable housing and was working hard to provide for his family.
The deputies told him about resources in the area before going out of their way to serve the family’s immediate needs. Driving the father and two kids to a nearby CVS, they bought $275 worth of groceries, hygiene items, and toys, all from their own money.
A citizen pulled over to offer further support, and the deputies escorted the family back to where they were staying so they could get their supplies back safely.
Sharing Ashley’s bodycam footage on Facebook, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office posted, “Whether it’s combating crime in our community or just lending a helping hand to those in need … We’re #PascoProud to serve our citizens and deeply grateful for the support of our community!”
The inspiring footage has garnered over 2.5 million views to date.