His child was tugging at his jacket, but he couldn’t really pay attention to him. “Dad!” he yelled. But his father couldn’t look away then. He wanted to keep his eyes on the cashier as they scanned through all the items. The beeping kept increasing, and with each sound, he could feel his heart skipping a beat. Finally, the cashier was done, and there it was, the total flashing across the screen. His heart felt heavy. He could hear some heavy footsteps heading his way and that’s when he saw a police man heading towards him.
Officer Mike Kelly had been through his fair share of hardships in life. His father wanted him to take over the family business, but he didn’t really see himself working at the hardware store. He didn’t know what career path to follow, but he finally figured it out during a summer break. He’d been working with his father for a while when it finally dawned on him. He absolutely hated working retail! But he never expected his career to make such a twist.
But Mike’s father didn’t agree with his decision to veer off the path he had imagined for his son. When Mike told his dad that he would be heading off to college, he didn’t talk to him for two weeks. Every evening they’d eat dinner in complete silence once he’d return home from work. Mike’s mom did all she could to mediate the situation, but nothing seemed to work. Mike felt his dad would never get over it. But one day when his mother asked him to stop by after school to fetch something at the store, he’d stumble into something awful.
Mike was shocked to find that the store sign had been flipped from “open” to “closed.” He rubbed off the window with his sleeve in an attempt to take a peek inside and that’s when he saw something that made him stop dead in his tracks. There was a man was standing near the desk, with a balaclava over his head. His poor father was frenetically moving everything he’d stored inside the register into a bag. All of a sudden, his father looked up and locked eyes with Mike. The robber hit him over the head and then ran through the back door.
After this horrible ordeal, Mike’s father realized that life was too short to hold grudges, but the situation had quite an effect on Mike too. Having witnessed his father in such a helpless situation made him open his eyes. Mike realized that his true life calling was being a policeman, and his father was all for it. He supported him through the academy and make sure to remind him why he was taking that special path whenever things got tough. Finally, Mike became a popular, well-known local officer. But not everyone would be as lucky as him.
Spencer was used to working hard and playing hard. Fridays meshed together with Mondays in the blink of an eye. He didn’t have a penny to his name, but he didn’t care. He was always surrounded by friends and good times. Spencer didn’t have a care in the world, he was often late to work, and a little hungover. But as he got older, he was forced to see things in a different light.
Spencer realized that he always seemed to be surrounded by “friends” whenever he was the one buying the drinks. Whenever he got a late payout, his friends would automatically cancel their plans. But when his own mother passed away and no one showed it, reality finally sunk in, and he knew he deserved so much more than that. But he’d never envision himself ending up like this.
Spencer was used to being the one who always paid for drinks, but when he offered to buy Ashley one, she flat out refused. This took him by surprise. They’d only just met, but he couldn’t help but ask himself a million questions. Why did she reject him paying for the drink? Was she rich? Perhaps she was married. Well, as it turns out, she was just an independent young woman with her own money, so she didn’t need anyone paying for her drinks. Right then and there, Spencer was hooked. He worked hard to be with her whenever she was free. But he was about to get slapped by reality.
Spencer believed he was the luckiest man in the world. He never understood how he managed to convince Ashley to marry him, but somehow he did. And as the years passed, their family grew from two to five. He was overwhelmed with happiness. He never had to look anywhere or any place besides his home to feel whole. He thought he had his fairytale ending, but fate had a different idea.
Spencer’s world came into a halt when his beloved wife Ashley passed away. Her grim diagnosis took the entire family by surprise. Six months ago she’d been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and just like that, she was gone. He couldn’t help but feel like a broken shell of the man he once was. All he wanted to do was stay at home, and grieve along with his kids, who desperately needed him. But his job wasn’t so understanding and they gave him an ultimatum. You either come back to working full-time hours, or you’re fired. Spencer chose to stay with his children, but he wasn’t counting on unemployment being this hard.
Spencer spent a few months grieving with his kids. They needed some time alone to come to terms with the fact that Ashley was gone, but now he was starting to feel strong enough to get back to work. Only problem was, he couldn’t a decent job anywhere. He started doing odd jobs here and there, but that barely paid the bills. They were going through his savings so fast, that he could barely put food on the table. But when that cop showed up, he could’ve never expected he’d do something like this.
When Officer Mike realized that this poor father was counting every coin in his hands to pay for groceries, he noticed his children were also complaining about being hungry. It made his heart sink. “I’m looking down at the little girl, and the young kids looking up to her dad, and I look in the [shopping cart.] It’s just ramen noodles. I don’t know if it’s a financial thing, or if the card just didn’t work,” Mike recalled. He was great at reading people after so many years in the force, so he was damn sure that the man had to be in a tough spot. Much to Spencer’s shock, Mike proceeded to do something that left him speechless.
Officer Mike reached into his pocket and fetched a $50 bill. He handed it over to the cashier. “I’ve got this,” he told Spencer, with a sincere smile on his face. “Maybe your dad can take you out for some ice-cream later too?” he asked the kids, who started jumping with joy. Spencer was completely taken aback, and all he could do was shake the nice officer’s hand, as he put away the packages in his bag. He was completely speechless. What the heck had just happened?
Spencer was moved by the officer’s gesture, and all he could manage to say was “thank you” before getting all choked up. Mike could sense he was about to break down, and he wasn’t about to let it happen in front of his kids, so he gave them three one-dollar coins and pointed at a nearby arcade game so they’d entertain themselves while he talked to Spencer. The second they run away, this poor grieving father couldn’t hold in his heartache anymore. Why was this stranger so kind to him and his kids?
Mike simply explained that when he noticed he was stuck in a distressful situation, he couldn’t bring himself to walk away without at least trying to help in some sort of way. “I just felt God telling me, saying, ‘Just go help him.’ [I’m] getting extra money to be there and I’m just like, are these people going to go hungry when I’m just sitting here making a little extra money for myself?” This lovely gesture came straight from the pureness of this officer’s heart, but Spencer and his children weren’t the only witnesses there. Word started spreading like wildfire, and overnight, everyone in Cleveland had already heard what Mike had done.
Jermain Bowe was also waiting at the checkout to pay for his purchases and he was able to witness the touching moment, first hand. He was really moved by what the officer had done, so he felt like the whole world should know that some superheroes wear badges. “Just witnessed another extraordinary act by our men and women in uniform. A police officer paid for the groceries of a customer here at Walmart. The best part, the customer told the police officer ‘God bless you,’ and the police officer responded, ‘I am already blessed.’ I love it.” But that’s not where the story ends! Not one bit!
The media is always searching for positive feel-good stories in these dark times, so when words started spreading about Mike’s kind gesture, news outlets from all over the country wanted to interview this hero with a badge. But Officer Mike wasn’t really looking for attention. Even though we feel like he went above and beyond the line of duty, he would tell you otherwise. As a policeman, he believes his role is to protect and serve, and his response to all the attention he was getting is truly touching.
As a police officer, Mike had seen it all. Parents and children who are strapped for cash having to resort to stealing loaves of bread to feed their little ones. Entire families having to wait long lines at homeless shelters, trying to get a roof over their head, even if it’s just for the night. Mike knew that life wasn’t without hardships, but he’d always tried his very best to help any parent who needed a little push. How could he bring himself to ignore someone who’s struggling in life?
Many folks couldn’t begin to grasp what it’s like to experience the pain, the humiliation, the sadness, and the helplessness of seeing your own parents struggle to put food on the table. To watch them come home with nothing but ramen noodles like Spencer did, or a box of cereal you’re all supposed to share. Kids might be too innocent to understand the gravity of the situation, but they can sense something’s really wrong.
Some children don’t even realize what’s going until they’re well into their teen years. Suddenly, it might hit you. All those times you were visiting a relative, like your grandma, you weren’t doing it “just because.” The reality was there was no food at home and your parents would probably have to work some extra hours that day to make sure you’d be able to eat the next day. But the scariest part is that anyone could become homeless just like that.
All it takes is a few mishaps here and there, and you’re on the streets. Spencer was strong enough to bring himself back from a grieving state of mind that almost left him paralyzed with pain. But what if his depression had taken the best of him and left him unable to function or take care of his kids?
Had he not been strong enough to work on his pain along with his kids, Spencer could’ve easily found himself without a job, with his savings account drained to the last penny. Once he stopped paying rent, it’d be up to family members and friends to help him pick up the pieces of his life. But a lot of people go through similar hardships, and when there’s no one there to lend a helping hand, they find themselves wondering if things are ever going to get better. But people like Officer Mike restore out faith in humanity, as he’s living proof that just when you thought you were all alone on this Earth, there is always someone there to surprise you.
Officer Mike was moved by people’s reactions. He couldn’t believe so many news outlets were interested in interviewing him! Still, he had some words of wisdom to share with the world, “Look for somebody to help. There’s someone around all the time to help, maybe just food but maybe something else, maybe just go up and talk to them.” But how did the internet feel about what he did for Spencer?
Mike’s story quickly went viral, as good news also likes to travel fast! His act of kindness didn’t go unnoticed and we hope it will inspire many to open their hearts to those who are struggling everyday. Perhaps, fifty dollars wasn’t much for Officer Mike, but for Spencer and his family, it made a huge difference that day. You don’t even need to give money to others in order to help. You can buy someone food, or even help someone cross the street. Best of all? Helping out others can also help you!
As it turns out, volunteering, and devoting your time to help others doesn’t just make the world better, it makes YOU better! Studies now support the fact that giving back to your community can have a bunch of health benefits for you too. It can boost your happiness, combat depression, keep you stimulated, and even reduce stress. So being kind and helping out someone in need truly is a win-win situation for everyone, don’t you agree?