Everyone seems to enjoy complaining about social media these days and citing scary research studies showing its adverse effects on society. But social media can also be a powerful tool, allowing for a group effort to address problems and empowering individuals to touch the hearts of a broad audience.
Individuals just like Officer Tommy Norman, of the North Little Rock Police Department! When he found himself confronted with a struggling mom, his kindness, compassion, as well as ample help from social media enabled him to change her life.
On June 13th, Officer Norman was on patrol. Part of his route took him down a road he had driven down dozens of times before. Today, however, he saw something that stopped him dead in his tracks.
A pregnant woman, days from giving birth, was sleeping on the sidewalk with her toddler.
After my coffee stop i begin making my early morning rounds. As I enter into the neighborhoods I see this. I initially passed because I thought I was seeing things. This is not a post asking for assistance. It's an image I decided to share to show that real life stories exist in communities across the world. Heartbreaking yes but hopefully an image that encourages others to get out & make a difference in their communities. 🙏🙏
“It’s something I had never seen before,” Officer Norman told THV11.
It took Norman a moment to collect himself, but finally he woke the pair up.
“I was scared that I was in trouble,” the woman, Jessica Stinson, told THV11.
But she was not in trouble. Instead, Norman asked them why they were on the street.
Jessica Stinson explained that she and her 2-year-old daughter, Kayla, escaped a domestic abuse situation in March. Since then, she had lived in a homeless shelter for women. However, come early June, her maximum allotted time at the shelter was up and they told her she had to leave.
“I asked them for an extension,” Stinson told THV11. “They gave me three extra days.”
Forced out of the shelter with nowhere to go, Stinson chose a public place to sleep, out of safety concerns.
The series of events that took place today were powerful! You never know what lies ahead. A mother & her child absolutely exhausted, were in my path as I made my way to begin my day of community policing. Today's encounter was destined! I've received multiple messages from individuals wanting to help. Thank you to everyone! If I haven't responded I'll try to do so soon. Anyone interested in sending clothes, I have the following sizes: Jessica size 9, 8 1/2 shoe. Kayla 3T, 8 shoe, 8 panties & 4 pull ups. Mail to PO Box in my bio. Please include instructions on who's supposed to receive what. I'll keep you updated. Thanks again! 🙏🙏
Norman was moved by their story, and took the pair to a local motel where he set them up for a few days. He also published their story to social media, where it quickly went viral.
Almost immediately, donations came pouring in. People were sending baby clothes, shoes, toys and food. Overnight, the pair’s life changed.
Officer Norman put the word out on social media, and donations came flooding in.
After an afternoon of sorting, this is what awaits Jessica & family, with more to come! Thank you! 📦🙏🏽🌎
But it also changed in other ways; the family that had once started out sullen, and cautious were now smiling again. 2-year-old Kayla showed the greatest transformation; from a quiet, scared little girl, into a bouncing, happy child.
And more good news—mere days after she was rescued, Jessica gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Xavier.
The family was safe and happy, but they could not live in a motel room forever. So, Officer Norman set about looking for a place they could live. Again, social media played a major role.
Thanks to her exposure on social media, Jessica was able to not only find an apartment, but also a job at a local restaurant, Wingstop. Not only that, but donations from around country managed to raise enough money to pay the first seven months of Jessica’s rent.
Officer Norman, with help from social media, turned Stinson’s life around.
Officer Norman’s kindness did much to turn Stinson’s life around. More than that though, his example shows us the power that social media gives each and every one of us—with the help of kind friends, we can all make a difference.