It was Atlanta police Officer ‘Che Milton’s’ first week on the job when the call came in, he was tasked with heading over to the neighbourhood dollar store where someone had been seen trying to shoplift a pair of shoes.
The suspect he came across turned out to be only 12. And the shoes she was trying to steal were only $2.
Between tears, the little girl told Milton that their family wouldn’t be able to afford even the $2 and she just wanted to do something nice for her her 5-year-old baby sister.
At this point the story took a strange turn, it goes from an officer responding to a crime to his entire department pulling together to help a little girl in need.
Milton said he would take the young girl back home in the cop car, when he arrived at a small house in a rough part of town she said: “this is it.”
What did he see?
The home was bereft of furniture. Sheets lay on the floor where a bed would normally go. Her mum, balancing one child on her hip, was trying her best to tidy up.
The 12-year-olds mother told Milton theirs was a family of seven: mum, dad and five children.
She went on to explain that her husband worked a lot and she stayed home because she couldn’t afford daycare for the little kids.
“I saw the conditions. There was no food in the house and the kids were there,” Milton explained to CNN.
Milton went to a nearby pizza shop and picked up four large pies. He went back to the house and dropped it off.
That was in February and Milton’s gone back a couple of times, dropping off diapers or clothes or checking up on them.
“I have made mistakes in my life also,” he says. He knew he wanted to help.
What happened next?
Not too long after the incident, when Milton’s serjeant called him in, he thought he was in trouble but instead he was surprised to find It was actually the opposite.
The department had heard about the little girl and decided to share her story.
“The way that Officer Milton handled this incident showed that not only is he here to enforce the law but also to go the extra mile and be a bigger part of the community he is policing,” the department told CNN.
The support was overwhelming. It received numerous calls to help the family and soon after the department posted clothing sizes of the children on its Facebook page so locals could help by donating.