A New Jersey officer's kind act toward a homeless individual has garnered praise from people across the nation (video below).
On his way back from a call, Highlands Police Officer Kevin O'Donnell noticed a man in his 20s outside in freezing weather wearing little more than a hoodie and Converse sneakers outside of Katz Grill, the Asbury Park Press reports. Because the temperature outside was in the teens, the policeman ran home to grab a few old items of winter gear.
"It was just one of those things where I figured I needed to take that extra step during my shift and get him what he needed," he said.
O'Donnell returned to Katz Grill to find the man.
"He had a purpose about him," said fellow Highlands resident Jerry Homiak, who was also at the grill that day. "I thought someone was going to have a really bad day."
After about 10 minutes, O'Donnell found the man sitting in a nearby gazebo.
"I have a few items for you," the patrolman said as he handed the man a winter jacket, winter boots and socks. KTRK reports that the man was extremely thankful, remarking that most people never do such things for him.
"It's a good thing, it's always good to help out people in need," O'Donnell later said. "I knew he was in need."
Unaware at the time, O'Donnell's generous act had been witnessed by Homiak.
"It really hit home with me," he said of the officer's good deed.
Homiak felt that the officer should receive his due appreciation. He posted the story on Facebook, where it quickly went viral.
"I just walked to Katz's for dumb a*s smokes and while I was there an officer from Highlands PD came in and asked about a young man who was just there," Homiak wrote. "The officer asked where he went and said the young man had no boots on and that he wanted to give him a pair, that he shouldn't be walking around in old sneakers in weather like this."
Homiak said that a worker at the Katz Grill told him O'Donnell's name, but he declined to post it since he was not sure if he would want the story to be shared. The worker had commented that O'Donnell was new to the Highlands Police Department.
"For a new officer to go out of his way to see that a stranger has what he needed, to me, is the definition of 'to protect and serve' and what makes this little piece of the world so great," Homiak stated in the post. "It's news of police actions like this that deserves attention and recognition."
Family and friends quickly alerted O'Donnell about the post and the praise he was receiving. He maintains that what he did wasn't particularly unusual, and that he's sure any of the 13 officers in his department would have done the same.
O'Donnell reportedly knows the man he helped from previous calls. According to KTRK, he is trying to help him get a job.