In 2013, Officer Vicki Thomas of the Miami-Dade Police Department felt compelled to do something “more” in a shoplifting case she was called in for.
The shoplifter, a woman by the name of Jessica Robles, had tried to leave a Publix with $300 worth of items, the Miami-Dade Police Department said, according to CNN.
An arrest would have been warranted in this situation, but Thomas paused and looked into Robles’ past. The mom had no major past offenses listed and said the reason she’d done the deed was because her kids were hungry.
The officer asked Robles if she had food at home, and the mom replied, “Not at all.”
“I could relate,” Thomas said, according to KDVR. “I was a single mom and, without the help of my family, that could have been me.”
Moved by the single mother’s plight, Thomas headed back into the store and bought $100 worth of groceries for the Robles family. The mom with still charged with a misdemeanor, but she wasn’t arrested, and the family also got some much-needed food.
“I don’t condone shoplifting,” Thomas clarified, according to Fox News. “It is a crime, but the food banks wouldn’t have been open that night and her children were hungry that night. So I had to act.”
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry.”
“To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas,” Thomas said. “That $100 to me was worth it.”
Robles had two young boys and a 12-year-old daughter named Anais.
Anais was very thankful for Thomas’ intervention and stressed how difficult it was to see her own brothers so hungry.
It’s “not fun,” Anais told WSVN, “to see my brother in the dirt hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘There is nothing here.'”
“Her ‘thank you’ touched me a great deal,” Thomas said. “She was very sincere, and that made it all worthwhile.”
The gesture was nothing new for Thomas, and she sidestepped some of the praise by highlighting her fellow officers’ generosity as well.
“I have done similar things before, and the people I work with have also done similar things,” she said.
“The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out,” she added. “And she said she would.”
“There’s no words how grateful I am that you took your time and helped somebody out,” the grateful mother said at the time. “Especially somebody like me.”
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