At a time when police departments across the country are seemingly at odds the communities they serve, it’s nice to see one cop get it right.
Helen Johnson, a 47-year-old grandmother, walked into the Dollar General in Tarrant, Alabama on December 6 to buy a carton of eggs. Johnson’s two daughters, her niece and two young grandchildren hadn't eaten in two days. Johnson had $1.15 and when she got to the register she realized she was 50 cents short. Out of desperation, she pocketed five eggs. The eggs broke and she got caught.
What happened next ended up as a viral video after William Stacy, the officer sent to deal with the situation, decided not to arrest Johnson and instead bought her a carton of eggs. Johnson hugged Stacy in the parking lot of the Dollar General in a scene caught on camera by Robert “Dollar” Tripp.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, thank you Jesus for this man,’” Johnson told Fox affiliate WBRC. “He is my hero.”
Stacy told WBRC that while growing up his mother sometimes had getting food for him and his sister. He said he had been to Johnson’s house before and her story was consistent with what he had seen.
Johnson asked him what she could do to repay him, and he asked her not to steal.
“Sometimes the best route is to not arrest,”' Stacy told Fox affiliate WBRC. “I hope she won't do it again. I pray she doesn't, and I don't think she will.”
The Johnson family has since received donations of food and money from people around the country. Last Wednesday, Tarrant police delivered two trucks of donated food to their house. Police also set up a fund for the Johnson family at People's First Federal Credit Union on Ford Avenue in Tarrant.