Nestled amid the CCTV footage of package thefts, the lineup of wanted mugshots, and PR shots of crisply smiling officers, the grainy snap of a boy shielding an elderly woman from a downpour with his coat was quietly going viral on the Facebook page of the police department in crime-ridden Independence.
The image had been shared on Aug. 26 by the Independence Police Department in Missouri, together with an outpouring of praise from the officer, who was said he was so touched by the moment he was hoping to trace the teenager to buy him dinner.
A few days and several thousand “likes” later and Officer Holt got his wish after a family member of the good Samaritan spotted the story on Facebook and called up the police department.
This photo was taken by Officer Holt over the weekend and he wrote this:"Kinda long but I’m touched by this kid.So…
“Officer Holt met up with him and his mother over the weekend and took them both out to dinner,” said a follow-up Facebook post by the Independence Police Department that identified him as a 14-year-old named Tyrea.
A photograph shows the boy with Holt in the restaurant.
We are pleased to announce that Officer Holt was able to find the young man, identified as 14 year old Tyrea, who he…
“Well, this kiddo who I have only known a short time already means the world to me,” said Holt. “As promised after finding him I took him out to dinner. He and his wonderful mom Ebony enjoyed some Red Lobster.”
Holt had earlier told Fox News that if he ever traced him, he would leave the choice of restaurant to the youngster.
“He’s the hero. I’m just the photographer in this situation. So it’s wherever he wants to go. It’s on my dime. So he can pick,” Holt said.
In the original post, Holt said that he was touched watching Tyrea get out of his van in the pouring rain, take his coat off, and use it to protect an elderly woman as he walked her to the car.
“He then walked back to his car all while not saying a word to his auntie or mom when he exited or reentered,” said Holt.
“I followed him to the van and approached the driver who was his mom. I told this young man I was impressed and he should be proud because I was. His mom had no idea what was happening because she thought she had done something wrong since I was in uniform.
“I told his mom that she has done amazing with him and I hope and pray he goes places. She started tearing up, because I was a cop and took time out of my day to call him out on what I witnessed.”
“I know the chances of this reaching his mom is slim, but kid you impressed me,” he wrote. “Kiddo If you see me on the street again this guy owes ya a dinner. You ever need anything I will come running to ya.”