Because of hunger pains, some homeless people may be driven to do something unlawful—not that it justifies thievery in the least. A homeless mother who was apprehended after attempting to shoplift was met with a warning but also a remarkable outpouring of heart-melting mercy that she’ll never forget.
On Nov. 20, 2018, Police Chief Phillip Kelly, of Yale in Oklahoma, had his hands full packing his patrol car with donated turkeys. They were for the less fortunate, on behalf of the police force. So when he got a call from a Dollar General store about a shoplifting incident, it was not exactly timely.
Upon arriving at the store, Kelly parked his patrol car, which was now packed full of the donated meals. He went in to inspect the surveillance footage. Without a doubt, the woman was caught shoplifting. However, she was also seen turning around and putting the items back before exiting the building.
Kelly realized then that he had seen her around before.
She and her kids were homeless and living in her car.
“I found the woman, and as I was talking to her, I told her, ‘You can’t go back in there. You know, you stole some food, and they don’t want you back in there,” Kelly recalled, reports News9.
HEARTWARMING: Yale Police Chief Phillip Kelly learned a woman was living in her car and was stealing food to help feed her family. He knew something had to be done. https://t.co/KknVNeP78L
— News 9 (@NEWS9) November 21, 2018
“She started crying and that made me tear up. After I gave her the trespass warning, I thought to myself, ‘The only right thing to do is feed her, that’s the only human thing to do.’”
As every single turkey was accounted for, Kelly unfortunately couldn’t give her one. But being the kind human being he is, he drove to a nearby grocery store to buy the woman and her kids some food.
Not only did Kelly let her off the hook, but he bought food to feed the lady, her kids, and even went out of his way to get them a little extra to enjoy Thanksgiving with—the woman broke down in tears.
— News On 6 (@NewsOn6) November 21, 2018
The kind officer paid for all of this out of his own pocket.
“She just couldn’t stop crying You know, and then [that] made me cry … I’m supposed to be a tough cop and all, but it just gets you. There’s always somebody that needs help, that’s less fortunate than you, and by gosh, we’re going to help them.”
Mercy can change people for the better, and in a way that orders and restrictions could never. Mercy can melt people’s hearts, and what’s left is but a yearning for goodness in the hearts of those who are graced by kind souls like Police Chief Kelly. It’s a fantastic example he’s left, and we hope this story will inspire the kindness that is inherent in the hearts of each and every one of us.
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