An encouraging story of empathy is making the rounds on the internet. Although the events took place several years ago, they can inspire us to help others at this time of year, which can be particularly hard for the homeless and those who feel abandoned by society.
The story was originally reported by a local television station. Two sheriff’s deputies, Tim Ye and Johnny Le, were on patrol in Sacramento, California. That day, they went to check on people they saw camping behind a Walmart store. What they saw there moved their hearts.
When they got out of their patrol car, they found a single mother and her three children.
For several months, the family had been living in an old van. They ate whatever they could get, relying mostly on food banks.
When Ye and Le came across this family, the mother, Shannon Loveless, was preparing lunch. When the woman saw the officers, she was afraid she was going to be in trouble. She explained later that she’d never before known the kindness of other people or met with understanding from law enforcement.
Single mother with children in the middle of the forest
“It was kind of a shock because I didn’t know whether we were going to get in trouble or what,” she told CBS13. The children were dirty, scared, and hungry. The sight touched the deputies’ hearts.
“Kind of choked up a little bit, to see the kids dirty and hungry, it touched me,” said one of the officers. Tim and Johnny contacted social workers. They asked the family to stay there until their return.
When they returned, their police car was overflowing with bags of groceries, clothes, and toys. The children were visibly joyful as they accepted these beautiful new gifts. However, that wasn’t the end of the surprise.
The officers placed Shannon and her children in a motel so they could rest in a warm, clean place until social services could help them find an apartment. “Just for them to be able to have a warm place to sleep, watch cartoons, you know, the things that kids do. You take it for granted, but um … It’s been awesome,” Shannon Loveless said through tears.
The woman explained that because of what the police officers did, she again believed they could live normally. “It’s a total game changer, you know? The motivation’s there, and the morale kicked in, and it’s like, I’m ready, let’s do this year right,” she said in the video.
A gesture of kindness
Shannon Loveless said the police officers’ act of kindness restored her faith in humanity and gave her the determination to get back on her feet. Until now, the family struggling with homelessness had been forced to move from place to place by law enforcement.
“That’s a softer side of us. They see this, they see the flashing red and blue lights, and that kind of a thing, they look at us, ‘That’s bad, let’s go somewhere else,’ but we’re there to help them in their situation,” said Tim Ye.
Thanks to the police officers’ interest and empathy, the family was finally able to start living in dignified conditions.
This story is an encouragement to everyone to always offer help to anyone in need. A small gesture of kindness can change someone’s life story.