In these hard times, everyone needs stories and moments that lift up the spirits. Shane Foote, a sheriff’s deputy and shift supervisor at Columbia County Sheriff’s Department in Lake City, Florida, gave the world that much needed positivity boost when a passerby caught him sharing lunch with a homeless man.
Brownie Lyons and her husband were at a drive-thru in Lake City in early July when they caught sight of Corporal Foote. The couple saw him pull over, exit his patrol vehicle, and get something out of the back seat, which turned out to be a chair.
Lyons recalled, “We were wondering if he was going to talk to the guy about being on the street but when we pulled out, he had set up the food and was sitting down with him eating.”
Inspired to share the feel good moment, Lyons snapped a photo of the two men appearing to enjoy an impromptu Chick-fil-A picnic on the sidewalk. The two appeared to have a good time and enjoyed their conversation over lunch. Posting the image on Facebook, the good deed immediately went viral with thousands of shares.
Lyons acknowledges that such actions often don’t get recognized, which was another motivation for posting the photo. “I do not know the officer, and personally it doesn’t matter if he’s in law enforcement or not. I wanted to show that there are people who do good things and not always for recognition,” she said.
Soon enough, people began recognizing the officer, and praised him saying that he has always been a great guy. Lyons’ son also realized that he had attended school with Foote, and said that the kind deed personified “Shane all day everyday!”
In addition to working in law enforcement and ensuring the welfare of the less fortunate, police officers actively promote peace with all members of the community, particularly children.
“I think our community in Lake City has a lot of good officers including Florida Highway Patrol, and I have personally witnessed this but unable to capture it until that day,” Lyons said.
“So many times officers, paramedics, EMTs, and nurses like myself do a lot of good things according to our hearts to serve not for anything else. It takes very little effort to show kindness… A kind word or gesture goes a long way.”
In North Carolina, another police officer was unknowingly caught sharing lunch with the homeless by a random passerby. Cassie Lea Parker captured the heartwarming moment, which was then posted on Facebook by her boyfriend.
“Cassie was out on her lunch break and observed Goldsboro’s Finest enjoying lunch with a homeless person. Law enforcement does so much for our community, with a lot of it going unnoticed. We see you Goldsboro P.D. Keep up the good work.”
Officer Michael Rivers, 29, has worked with the Goldsboro Police Department for nine years, and has gotten familiar with most members of the community, particularly the homeless.
One day, he saw an unfamiliar face, and for some reason, was compelled to ask, “Hey, did you eat today?” She said, “No,” and Officer Rivers immediately grabbed pepperoni and cheese pizzas and sodas from a nearby shop, and sat down on the grass next to her.
The meal was delicious, and the conversation even better. The two talked animatedly for 45 minutes, giving the officer a chance to get to know Michelle, whose husband was also homeless. The couple have two children, a 23-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter battling liver disease and in foster care.
That day, Michelle wore a white shirt with a message written on it: “Homeless. The fastest way of becoming a nobody.” Officer Rivers that day reminded her that she was not a nobody.
Acts of compassion and empathy happen every day, they just don’t always make it into the news cycle. Good deeds for the homeless, and other people who carry similarly heavy burdens, don’t come often, but are most definitely welcomed and appreciated.
Care and concern for others, particularly for those who have less in life, show the very best of our humanity. Hopefully more people follow in the footsteps of Officers Foote and Rivers, and share their time and blessings with others in the community!