Having been with the Goldsboro cop Department in North Carolina for the past nine years, Officer Michael Rivers has come to know the faces of the home-less in his community. But Wednesday, he came upon a home-less woman he had never seen before. And her shirt cau*ht his eye.
It read: “Home-less. The fa*test way of becoming a nobody.” He had his windows down so the two made eye contact and acknow-ledged each other with a simple, “Hey.” He drove away, but something kept tugging at him to go back, Rivers said.
“God put it on my heart to get her lunch,” the 29-year-old officer told CNN. “So I turned around and I asked her, ‘Hey, did you eat today?’ And she said, ‘No.’” So he grabbed pepperoni and cheese pizzas from a nearby pizza shop and sat down on the grass next to her.
The pizza they shared was great, Rivers said, but the conversation was even better. For 45 minutes, Rivers and the home-less woman, who he said identified herself as Michelle, shared their life stories.
And the heartwa*ming moment was captured in a photo by a passerby, whose husband shared it on social media. “Law enfo-rcem-ent does so much for our community, with a lot of it going un*oticed,” Chris Barnes said in his social media post, which has since garnered nearly 1,000 likes and more than 3,000 shares.
“We see you Goldsboro P.D. Keep up the good work,” Barnes added. As the two started talking, Michelle told Rivers she has a 12-year-old daughter who is liver d!se!se and in f!ster care.
She also has a 23-year-old son, Rivers said. Her husband, also home-less, stood acr-oss the street as the two conversed. After finishing their lunch, they went their separate ways. But Rivers said the i*teract!on made him realize that he and Michelle were similar in how they are perceived by society. People who are homeless are often shunned by society and blamed for bringing the situation upon thems-elves.
Meanwhile, Rivers said he feels officers are often portrayed in a negative light as society foc-uses on just the “bad apples.” But “home-less people are just people who are down on their luck,” Rivers said. “It can happen to anybody.” And for himself, he didn’t set out to be a officer because he wanted to ruin a person’s day, Rivers said. “I come to work and my method is, ‘Who can I bless today?
Who can I make smile?” Rivers said. ‘”I’m not the one that wants to take somebody’s father or mother away and put them in custody.” Officer Chief Michael West said he saw the picture circulating on social media and appl-auded Rivers for his good deed.
“The c!rcumst-ances around our job are often an unpleasant call to service, but this picture just shows we’re human like anyone else and any chance we get to serve the community and help people, we take that chance,” West told CNN. “I’m very fortunate to have Officer Rivers in our department.”