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North Carolina Policeman Spends Lunch Break With Homeless Woman After Spotting Her T-Shirt

by : Emily Brown on : 17 Mar 2020 11:39
Policeman Spends Lunch Break With Homeless Woman After Spotting Her T-ShirtPoliceman Spends Lunch Break With Homeless Woman After Spotting Her T-ShirtChris Barnes/Facebook

A kind-hearted police officer opted to spend his lunch break with a homeless woman after reading an eye-opening message on her t-shirt. 

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Officer Michael Rivers, from North Carolina, spotted the woman sat by the side of the road while on his shift with the Goldsboro Police Department last week.

Rivers has been with the department for nine years and so has become familiar with the faces of many homeless people in his community. He didn’t, however, recognise this particular woman, who later identified herself as Michelle.

The officer was in his car at the time, and he made eye contact with Michelle through the open window and acknowledged her with a simple: ‘Hey.’

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Rivers then drove away, but Michelle’s t-shirt had caught his eye, and the message on it left an impression.

It read:

Homeless. The fastest way of becoming a nobody.

Police officer has lunch with homeless woman after reading her t-shirtPolice officer has lunch with homeless woman after reading her t-shirtChris Barnes/Facebook

Rivers had a feeling he should go back to where Michelle had been sitting and spend some more time with her.

Speaking to CNN about the situation, he explained:

God put it on my heart to get her lunch.

The kindly officer turned his car around and went back to find Michelle, asking: ‘Hey, did you eat today?’

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She hadn’t, so Rivers went to a nearby pizza shop where he picked up pepperoni and cheese pizzas before settling down on the grass next to his new companion.

PizzaPizzaPixabay

The pair spent the next 45 minutes sharing their life stories, allowing Rivers to learn all about Michelle and in turn helping her feel as though she wasn’t ‘becoming a nobody’.

Michelle told the officer she had a 12-year-old daughter who is battling liver disease and living in foster care, as well as a 23-year-old son. Michelle’s husband – who is also homeless – stood across the street as the two conversed, Rivers said.

A photo of the heart-warming scene was snapped by a passerby and shared on Facebook, where the poster praised Goldsboro Police Department for going the extra mile with members of the community.

The caption read:

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.

After polishing off their pizza, Rivers and Michelle went their separate ways, but the time they’d spent together made Rivers think about their similarities.

The officer believes they are both perceived by society negatively; homeless people are often shunned and blamed for bringing their situations upon themselves, while Rivers feels police officers are often stereotyped by the ‘bad apples’ and portrayed in a poor light.

He argued:

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Homeless people are just people who are down on their luck. It can happen to anybody.

Rivers went on to point out he didn’t become a police officer to ruin people’s day, but rather to do good in society.

He commented:

I come to work and my method is, ‘Who can I bless today? Who can I make smile?’ I’m not the one that wants to take somebody’s father or mother away and put them in jail.

sirenssirensPixabay

Michael West, Police Chief at Goldsboro Police Department, commended Rivers for his kind actions, telling CNN:

The circumstances 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.

I’m very fortunate to have Officer Rivers in our department.

Rivers’ act of kindness would have no doubt brightened Michelle’s day; the world definitely needs more people like him.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Goldsboro Police Department, homeless, Homelessness, Michael Rivers, North Carolina

Credits

Chris Barnes/Facebook and 1 other
  1. Chris Barnes/Facebook

    @BarnesNC

  2. CNN

    A police officer spent his lunch break sharing pizza with a homeless woman and it was captured in a heartwarming photo