This officer decided to help out a single father instead of arresting him.

*Featured image contains photo by nappy

Many people are going through a tough time right now. Grocery prices and the general cost of living are on the rise, and it can be hard to make ends meet. It’s a relatable feeling for many, but for some, the current market has them feeling downright desperate.

Sometimes, when you’re backed into a corner, you’re forced to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. That’s where compassion, understanding, and empathy can make a big difference. And that’s exactly what one man was met with when he was caught shoplifting one day in London, Kentucky.

Responding to the Scene

police officer

One day, police officer Justin Roby was called to a supermarket where a man had been caught shoplifting. According to the officer, the suspect was a single dad who had been trying to pocket some formula for his six-month-old son.

At that moment, Roby knew it wouldn’t feel right to arrest the man. Taking him away from his livelihood and his child by arresting him wouldn’t do anything to correct the problem. If anything, it might make it worse. Roby knew he couldn’t approach the situation in a rigid manner.

“As a police officer, it’s not black and white for us,” Roby told a CBS affiliate, as per CBS News. “There’s a lot of gray. And you have to cipher through everything, and you really need to figure out the whole story.”

Finding the Gray Area

At that moment, Roby decided to put himself in the father’s shoes. “What if me and my son, what if this was us,” he explained. So, he bought the formula himself and handed it to the man.

However, Roby also had a chat with the father and explained that he had help and options. He cited several organizations and people, including the police department, that were there to help if he had trouble getting food for his family again.

“I think when [a lot of people] look at us, they see just the uniform and just the car, just the tools that we have on our belt,” Roby continued. “But behind the uniform, I’m a human being, and I’m a person out in this community just like any of them. I have a little boy. I’m a father just like that gentleman was.”

Helping One Another When Things Get Tough

Roby himself reiterated that there are humans behind the badges, but this story is also a great reminder to all of us that there are real people struggling behind these stories. Many people are working hard to put food on the table for themselves and their families.

A study released just last year revealed that 25% of U.S. adults sometimes don’t get enough to eat, a number that has increased from only a year earlier. Grocery bills have increased 20% in the past two years, and rents have increased 13%. That means that many of us need help.

So, if you’re in a position to give it, perhaps this story will inspire you to make a difference in your community. Call up your local food bank and see what items they need. Ask if they need volunteers. Or start your own food drive in your neighborhood for others who may be struggling.

At the end of the day no one should go hungry. So, if we can make a small difference by buying an extra bag of formula or a few boxes of pasta, now’s the time to do so.