Adele Barbaro, a Melbourne-based blogger, was on her way to the local Woolworths one chilly night when she noticed two officers approach a homeless man outside the store entrance. She caught the incident on her phone.
The man had a handwritten sign asking for spare change to buy food.
It was very cold that night, with temperatures dropping to 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit); and she was bundled up to keep warm.
“As the officers approached him, instead of saying ‘time to move on’ or ‘you know you can’t be here,’ one of them said ‘what brings you out in the cold tonight mate?’” Adele later recounted in a Facebook post.
(Courtesy of Adele Barbaro)
The officers, Constables Sheridan Jones and Simon Jacobson, were responding to a reported disturbance, but it did not seem that way from their interaction with the downtrodden man.
“I heard him talk about being hungry and the iPads came out as they took details and as I made my way through the automatic doors I could hear the officers say ‘We just wanna make sure you are OK mate?’” she recalled.
Adele pressed on through the isles, picking her “nappies” and food from the shelves when she spotted the two officers inside, carrying some bread rolls and a hot roast chook.
Her first thought was that these were, perhaps, a late dinner for officers, themselves, but she soon realized it was not the case when she heard one of them say they probably needed to get him some milk, too.
“We ended up at the checkout at the same time, they had split up and seem to do half the groceries each and both pulling out wallets/purses to pay half each,” she wrote.
Adele was impressed when she overheard the officers asking the man whether he had a place to stay for the night, before sympathetically handing him the package they had put together for him.
After Adele posted the video, it garnered over 54,000 likes and was shared almost 10,000 times; while eliciting praise for law enforcement in general from viewers who commented—with some lamenting for how men and women in blue are sometimes portrayed.
“Unfortunately will never see this on the news,” Facebook user Andrea Dyson commented; to which Adele replied, “It was on need all day!”
“What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing,” commented Nicole Alberse. “Hopefully people aren’t too surprised by this though. Our police do a fantastic job both protecting and looking after the community, unfortunately it’s only the negative stories that are generally reported on.”