The transition from cool, fall weather to the bitter cold of winter is tough on everyone. Most people have somewhere they can go to escape the blistering winds and find warmth and comfort.
But for those that don’t, winter weather is a relentless onslaught of discomfort. Members of the homeless population find themselves battling for survival this time of year.
So when police officers were called to a restaurant in Utah where a homeless woman was seeking refuge from the cold, they didn’t feel right about putting her on the street.
A restaurant called the police because a homeless woman was spending hours inside the restaurant and spending very little money.
The woman, who is in her late 60s, had spent nearly 13 hours inside the diner. Every few hours she would buy a drink for a couple of dollars, always paying in change.
The diner felt she’d overstayed her welcome.
“She was continuously buying small dollar items—whatever money she had left so she didn’t get kicked out, trying to stay in the warm,” officer Joey Incardine told KSL.com.
He and his partner, Kevin Salmon, were the responding officers to the call. “We kind of feel bad for her that they wanted her to leave, so officer Salmon and I decided we want to help out.”
When the officers arrived, they found an elderly woman, down on her luck, and just trying to escape the cold.
The officers were compelled to remove her from the restaurant. Because the establishment no longer wanted her there, she was technically trespassing.
But instead of putting her out in the cold to fend for herself, they found her a warm place to stay for the night. Using their own money, the officers rented her a nearby hotel room for the next two nights.
“I wouldn’t leave my dog out in the cold,” Salmon said. “Definitely wouldn’t leave a person out in the cold.”
Rather than put her out on the street and in the cold, the officers rented her a motel room for the next two nights.
While they were dropping her off at her room, they spoke with her at length about her situation. As it turns out, she was on the street thanks to a recent string of unfortunate events.
She’d recently lost her home, her car, and had medical problems, among other things. “She was just trying to escape the cold,” said Incardine. “It was about 20 degrees outside.”
Officers called to an unwanted guest at a diner this morning. A homeless female had been there for the last 12 hours using $2.00 in change
every few hours to buy a drink so she could stay inside and warm. Officer
Incardine paid for a hotel with his own money. #policecompassion
— CH Police (@CHPolice) December 7, 2017
The officers gave her some direction as to how to get back on her feet and left her a few pamphlets so she can follow up with their directions.
Word of what they had done spread around the precinct and the department made a post on their Twitter page. They also offered to reimburse the officers for the expense, though they both declined.