When a Miami cop responded to a call of a woman shoplifting at a grocery store, she did something that most officers would not have done: she reached for her wallet instead of her handcuffs.
CNN reports that when Officer Vicki Thomas arrived at the Publix supermarket last month, she learned that the mother of three had stolen $300 worth food. When Thomas asked Jessica Robles why she stole the food, she told her that she had no food at home and that her children were hungry. After checking out her criminal history, Thomas realized that Robles had no major charges.
Instead of taking her into custody, Thomas issued Robles a notice to appear in court. She was also charged her with a misdemeanor. When Thomas asked the single mother if she had any food at home, she said no.
So Thomas did something that will really make you believe in humanity:
Thomas decided — in addition to telling Robles about food banks, churches and other places she could get food — she was going to help Robles and her family.
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry,” she said.
Thomas went back inside Publix and purchased $100 worth of groceries for the family. She told CNN on Tuesday she used her debit card.
“I have done similar things before, and the people I work with have also done similar things,” said Thomas, a 23-year police veteran.
Seeing Robles’ sons rummaging through the bags was more than reward enough for her act of generosity, Thomas told WSVN.
“To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas,” she said. “That $100 to me was worth it.”
Robles said the family ran out of money after her boyfriend lost his job and a paperwork issue stopped the federal assistance they had been receiving.
Since the story broke last month, Thomas says that she has not spoken to Robles but would like to. Though she says she has been overwhelmed with people thanking her, including fellow officers. One man even called police offering to buy groceries for the family, Thomas said.
Thomas said she only asked Robles to do one thing for her in return for the free groceries.
“The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out,” the officer said. “And she said she would.”
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