At closing time for the McDonalds restaurant, the restaurant manager is required to dispose of cooked food not sold that evening. Instead of wasting good food by throwing it in the restaurant trash dumpsters the restaurant manager, contacted the police supervisor in the area asking if he could find a use for the food so it was not just wasted.
The police supervisor had an idea. There was a population of homeless people who lived under a highway bridge over pass, and some days he knew that many of the homeless people did not eat. The sergeant knew that a few of these homeless people were U.S. military veterans from prior contact.
The McDonald’s manager and police supervisor agreed that the extra food could help feed the homeless people in the local area as an act of kindness and human compassion.
An Act of Kindness
The police sergeant took the bag of hamburgers and French fries given to him by the McDonalds restaurant manager and distributed the food to the homeless people who were temporary living under the highway bridge overpass.
The police sergeant at first reported the homeless were cautious and not very talkative during the late night burger and fries giveaways. The sergeant never gave up trying to talk to the homeless about ways they could rebuild their lives.
The sergeant’s act of compassion created trust within the homeless community in short time. The sergeant was not there to roust the homeless from their make shift temporary living conditions or make them move along, he showed compassion and concern for his fellow man. The police sergeant was just trying to help others rebuild their confidence and dignity and only the restaurant manager and a few officers on his shift knew about the homeless late night dinner meetings.
Trust Developed Into Use Criminal Intelligence
Over time, the thankful homeless people started sharing information on crimes they witnessed in the local area only to the police sergeant who was so kind to them for the last few months.
The homeless were invisible to society and even the criminals who committed crimes dismissed the homeless presences. The criminals underestimated the homeless people as a threat to their criminal activity and they had no idea that the homeless people were going to repay the police sergeants kindness by identifying burglaries, drug deals, and other crime they witnessed living on the streets.
From the criminal intelligence that the homeless shared with the police sergeant, he passed the information onto the department’s criminal investigation division (CID). The criminal intelligence from the sergeant was very detailed with dates, times, suspect descriptions, and vehicle information of the criminals. The CID detectives were able to identify suspects and conduct surveillance and other criminal investigation tactics that lead to many criminals being charged and arrested for crimes such as auto theft, burglary, and distribution of controlled dangerous substance. These crimes might have gone unsolved if not for the intelligence supplied by the local homeless to the police sergeant.
Bringing Dignity through Kindness
After a few months of the police sergeant connecting with the homeless people, he was able to reunite 3 of the homeless with family they had lost contact with over the years, and moved in with relatives who are helping rebuild their loved ones lives. 5 other homeless people found local jobs with help from the sergeant and found a place to live as they re-started their lives. 4 of the homeless veterans that were living under the bridge received help from the local American Legion and Veterans Administration and found a veterans transition shelter to live in as well as new jobs that the police sergeant helped arrange with local business owners.
All of the orginal homeless people in this story have re-started their lives simply because a local restaurant manager and police sergeant came together to help their fellow man. Their act of kindness brought dignity and purpose back into drifting lives.
When the police sergeant decided to help the homeless with help from the local McDonalds restaurant manager, the police sergeant never expected anything in return. The police sergeant tried to help the homeless people in his jurisdiction so they could rebuild their lives and become productive citizens with pride.
Stopping criminal active and holding criminal’s accountability was just the Karma of doing something kind that felt right.
Developing criminal intelligence can occur from unlikely sources. The homeless became empowered and no longer willing to be invisible.
How will you make a difference as a police officer in your community?
About the Author
Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 31 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. As a lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.