A London, Kentucky, police officer responded to a shoplifting call, only to help the alleged shoplifter after discovering he was a man in need.
Officer Justin Roby arrived at a London Kroger grocery store after the store’s loss prevention officer reported a suspected shoplifter.
For Roby, this would not be a standard black and white decision to make on whether to arrest the man.
"As a police officer, it's not black and white for us," said Roby. "There's a lot of gray. And you have to cipher through everything and you really need to figure out the whole story."
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The man’s story was one of hardship and a need to care for his son.
"I found out that the father," Roby explained. "Had attempted to steal or shoplift a can of baby formula for his 6-month-old baby."
The loss prevention manager did not want to press charges, and Roby agreed.
"Me citing him for court wouldn't have done any good for him," Roby said. "He's already short on money, can't afford formula, so me making him appear in court, he's still not going to have any food for that baby."
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Instead of arresting the man, Roby decided to deliver an act of kindness by buying baby formula himself and then giving it to the single father, reports LEX18.
"You put yourself in the situations," Roby said. "I think, 'Well, what if me and my son, what if this was us?"
The single father was humbled by Roby’s act.
"He was speechless for a while," Roby recounts. "He shook my hand and said thank you, he didn't really say a whole lot."
Roby provided the man with information on organizations — including his own department — that can help those in need.
Roby does not view what he did as anything special because his fellow officers provide acts of kindness everyday to those in the community.
"I think when [a lot of people] look at us, they see just the uniform and just the car, just the tools that we have on our belt," Roby told WKYT. "But behind the uniform, I'm a human being and I'm a person out in this community just like any of them. I have a little boy. I'm a father just like that gentleman was.
"We're not these robots," Roby said. "There's a human behind the badge."