Deputy Moved To Tears By Little Boy’s Kindness At Dunkin’ Donuts
“In the 26 years of my law enforcement career, nothing like that has ever happened to me.”
This donut stop is one for the books for Deputy Donnie Jackson of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Jackson was making his regular stop at his local Weston, Florida Dunkin’ Donuts when he found himself feeling on edge.
“It was really crowded, and as soon as I walked in, all eyes were on me,” he said. “With all the negative feelings right now about law enforcement, I assumed they were probably thinking the worst.”
At the same time, seven-year-old Austin Feldman and his parents had also stopped at the same Dunkin’ Donuts. Austin’s mom Jaime, 39, told PEOPLE, “The deputy (was) next to us, and Austin said it would be nice if we bought him breakfast. So we gave him the money!”
Deputy Jackson was at the cash register to pay for his order when the young boy came up to him and said he would like to pay for his purchase. The simple kindness of the gesture made a big impact on the deputy, who got unexpectedly emotional after the happenstance.
“It’s a good thing I had on my Oakley’s on because I really teared up,” Jackson wrote on his Facebook page. “I really appreciated this kind act by this kid and the fine qualities being instilled in him by his parents!”
Austin’s parents remarked that when Deputy Jackson walked through the door, Austin insisted on buying his breakfast as he appreciated the thankless job the police do. “It’s for all the hard work they do,” Austin said of their meet. “He deserves it.”
“It totally broke me down. I was fighting breaking down completely. We’ve been through a lot lately in law enforcement, and it was a perfect opportunity to see how good people can make you feel,” Deputy Jackson told HuffPost.
Deputy Jackson was so moved by the experience that he posted the photograph and the details on Facebook.
His Facebook post was shared by the Broward Sheriff’s Office and quickly went viral. Austin’s mom saw the post and connected with the Deputy to arrange a meeting back at the same Dunkin’ Donuts. This time, Deputy Jackson handed her son a copy of the photograph and a special badge.
“It makes me feel happy,” Austin said of helping Deputy Jackson. “Sometimes they save lives!”
“In the 26 years of my law enforcement career, nothing like that has ever happened to me,” the deputy said. “It really meant a lot to me because it was kind of the first time someone actually showed appreciation … and coming from someone so tiny.”
Deputy Jackson is a hero in more ways than one.
In 2003, Jackson was off-duty but noticed a man trying to flag down traffic in Miami, Florida. Deputy Jackson jumped into action after seeing a car submerged in the canal.
Deputy Jackson remembers seeing the 8-year-old boy gasping for air, with a 2-year-old boy sitting beside him, unconscious.
All he could think of was his own 5-year-old son, he told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, when he carried the boys to shore and performed CPR on the youngest one until the paramedics arrived.
“Everything I learned in CPR training came in handy,” he said.
The mothers of the two boys also saw the viral Facebook post and immediately messaged Jackson.
One of the boys he saved was about to graduate high school, and the other, 14-year-old Mortavis Graham, arranged a meet Deputy Jackson at the Dunkin’ Donuts to hug his hero all these years later.
“I remember this kid being two feet tall and he’s my height now,” Jackson said. “He said, ‘I’m very thankful that you saved my life when I was a little boy.’ ”
The teen then asked Deputy Jackson to walk him down his football field when he was named to his homecoming court.
“Of course, I’m going to be there! No one has ever asked me to do anything like that!” Jackson exclaimed.
Austin’s mom still can’t believe everything that came from her son’s modest gesture.
“This whole thing has blown us away … how far it’s spread. It’s so great to see so many people talking about this in such a positive light,” she said.
Deputy Jackson told The Huffington Post of the overwhelmingly positive reactions from around the world. “I feel like it’s a really positive, uplifting game-changer. Hopefully, people will focus on what the good that members of law enforcement do.”
This story is a good reminder that even the simplest kindness can change a life!