Homeless people can be found in most communities. Due to unfortunate conditions, countless have been driven out of their homes and are forced to live in the streets. It isn’t uncommon to see a homeless person in shabby shape– tattered clothes, disheveled hair, shoeless or face covered in dirt. Many passersby turn a blind eye on these people, pushing the homeless to the periphery of society.
For one homeless woman in the city of Goldsboro, however, her day would change when a police officer with a humanitarian heart crossed her path. Chris Barnes posted a heartwarming photo that his girlfriend, Cassie Lea Parker, took during one of her lunch breaks. The photo went viral. Chris writes:
“Cassie was out on her lunch break and observed Goldsboro’s Finest enjoying lunch with a homeless person. 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.” In a world where many are putting their personal interests at the forefront, this cop makes us believe that there are still human beings out there who possess a heart of gold. Officer Rivers decided to share his treasure by buying this homeless woman a meal and spent his time eating with her.
Twenty-nine-year-old Officer Michael Rivers has been serving with the Goldsboro Police Department in North Carolina for the past nine years – and he has indeed spent those nine years wisely. He’s a big-hearted cop who made sure he was familiar with every face in his community. He may not necessarily know their individual names, but he has the faces of these homeless people etched on his memory.
But on that particular day, while he was going about his regular rounds, Officer Rivers saw a homeless woman he’d never seen before. The words on the homeless woman’s shirt instantly grabbed his attention. It read: “Homeless. The fastest way of becoming a nobody.”
Officer Rivers did not believe in those written words. In his eyes, she wasn’t a nobody, and he wasted no time proving her wrong. Since the windows of his patrol car were down, he was able to make deliberate eye contact with her and that’s when the two casually addressed each other with a “Hey.”
The police offer started to drive away, but a divine voice inside him was telling him to go back to her. He told CNN:
“God put it on my heart to get her lunch. So I turned around and I asked her, ‘Hey, did you eat today?’ And she said, ‘No.’”
In response to the divine voice that spoke to him, he drove off to a nearby pizza place and grabbed both a pepperoni and cheese pizza. Since he didn’t know what the homeless woman liked, he was thoughtful enough to get two different flavors so she could have a choice.
He then drove back to the grassy area where he first saw her and sat down right next to her so they could share a quaint meal together.
The food was excellent but according to Officer Rivers, the conversation they shared was even better. The homeless woman, who identified herself as Michelle, and Officer Rivers ended up having an unlikely lunch date that lasted for 45 minutes. Somewhere between biting into slices of pizza, the two exchanged their life stories. It was 45 minutes well spent on both sides.
After the photo was posted on Facebook, the touching comments kept pouring in!
@Tinks Gill wrote:
“Learn from this beautiful interaction. Acknowledge the homeless, don’t forget they’re people just like you and me. There’s nothing wrong with a warm smile and a friendly hello. A little chit-chat doesn’t hurt either.”
Officer Rivers has been receiving a lot of well-deserved praise for his compassion towards the homeless woman. The praise for this officer even went beyond social media. People have been sending Officer Rivers their heartfelt words of love and praise via old fashioned hand-written letters too!
“Letters that were sent to me today in reference the Facebook post by Cassie Lea Parker and CNN. A lot of People have been reaching out and it’s so amazing to see what one picture has done. #spreadthelove”
These letters and online messages are proof that this Officer’s humane gesture has moved the hearts of many. Officer Rivers shows the world that people in the streets don’t need to be treated like strangers. Neither do they have to be ignored. He chose to show this homeless woman some kindness. Something as small as a slice of pizza and 45 minutes can be a big deal to someone else. In a world full of struggle and sorrow, this is always an uplifting sight to see.Please SHARE this with your friends and family.