Alabama’s Pell City Police Department shared some positive news in the wake of the killing of Police Sgt. Stephen Williams in nearby Moody, Alabama, earlier this month.
A group of Pell City officers were dining together at a local Cracker Barrel when they came across an unexpected show of good will from a local citizen.
Sgt. Shenandoah McInnish and three other officers, Cpl. Barry Wathen and officers Isaiah Johnson and Joshua Wheeler, were sitting together when a black man approached their table. He offered his condolences for the death of Sgt. Williams, McInnish said.
He also offered to pay for the officers’ meal, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“With everything that’s going on and what happened with the officer in Moody, this gentleman, he decided he was going to buy us breakfast,” McInnish said, as reported by Western Journal.
When the officers asked if he was sure about that, McInnish recounted, the man responded, “You give me them tickets, I got this. It’s on me.”
The sympathetic gesture kindled an emotional response from McInnish and the other officers.
“I was kind of overtaken with the moment,” McInnish said. “So were my guys. I got up and hugged his neck, they followed suit. He thanked us for what we did and he said, ‘I want to thank you guys for your service.’”
The officer added, “He looked at me, kind of looked at the guys and with emotion in his voice, said, ‘I’m really sorry about what happened to that officer in Moody.’”
The man didn’t give his name, nor did McInnish ask, he recalled. He noted that it was a “beautiful moment” and that he and his fellow officers were touched.
“We’ve got a wonderful relationship with our citizens,” he shared. “They love us, we love them. Every officer I work with here in Pell City is out to make a difference, man. That was just a way for that one guy to come in and—he touched us.”
So we are eating at Cracker Barrel this morning. There are 4 officers behind us eating. And this middle aged black man…
Meanwhile, a fellow diner at the restaurant named Garrett Cotton saw and photographed the interaction and later posted the image on social media. Cotton hardly expected more than a few dozen likes and shares, he said, but it very quickly went viral with over 450,000 people sharing the heartwarming photograph.
“If there was anything I could say, it would be to never judge someone before you know them,” Cotton told The Epoch Times via Facebook. “Not all cops abuse their power, not every white person is racist like you see on Facebook, and not every black person is somehow a threat.
“We are all people and need to remember not to judge the majority for the actions of a minority.”