A Texas police officer was captured on camera giving a local homeless man a pair of boots and a bottle of water two weeks ago.
Corporal Jeremy Walsh with the Odessa Police Department told Odessa American that he encountered the man, who is known around the area as A.J., outside of a restaurant. He noticed A.J. had been wearing a pair of boots that had fallen apart and lost part of his feet due to frostbite after spending some time in Colorado.
“I had some extra boots at my house and they’re actually a size too small and I found A.J. and saw if he wanted them,” Walsh told the local news site. “I figured he could use them a lot more than I can.”
The police officer, an Army veteran, said A.J. often declines to accept gifts but he eventually took the boots.
"A.J. had to do a little back and forth," Walsh told KWES-TV. "I saw him today he said, 'I haven't forgotten about ya.' I said 'It wouldn't be a gift if we were trading bro.'"
A customer inside the restaurant took a photo of Cpl. Walsh kneeling down and giving A.J. a pair of boots and posted it on Facebook. The image eventually ended up on the Odessa city government’s page.
The restaurant’s owner Gail Kimbrell, whose daughter Ronda snapped the photo, told TheBlaze “we’re all worried sick over” A.J. because of the freezing temperatures. But A.J. has refused to move. Odessa Police say that they cannot force the man to move since he is not breaking any laws.
Odessa Police spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said the photo showed a different side of police officers.
“I think the public views police, unfortunately, as dealing with negative situations,” LeSueur said. “This is a different side of police work the public never sees.”
Walsh says all of the attention was unexpected, but, he says if he can help anyone else, he can and he will.
(Photo courtesy of Odessa, Texas - City Government)