A Missouri police officer's kind deed for a 5-year-old girl who has cancer was met with much praise by the girl's family — even after the police officer handed the girl's uncle a traffic ticket.
Matthew Manley was taking his niece home from the hospital after her chemotherapy treatment when he was pulled over by St. Charles County Police Officer Shawn Birdsong, according to KTVI.
Manley was already nervous at the stop, considering he was driving without proper license plates. But as Birdsong began to open the trunk of his police vehicle, Manley grew even more anxious.
"He texted me scared to death," Dana Manley, his wife, said.
Birdsong finally emerged with a backpack stock full of clothes, stuffed animals and art supplies — ready to gift to Manley's niece.
The backpack was prepared by a St. Louis initiative called Project Backpack, which relies on police stations and social services agencies to distribute them to St. Louis children.
Inside the backpack was a handwritten note that read, "From Officer Shawn: Hope you get to feeling better real soon," followed by a smiley face.
"Cops are doing their jobs, but they're people too," Manley said. "I don't think people realize that anymore."
Dana took to Facebook to share the story, and Birdsong followed up with the family after he learned of their gratitude.
"It brought me to tears again. He's called and checked on her three to four times since then," Dana said.
Although Birdsong gave Matthew a ticket for his license plates that day, Dana and Matthew are far from upset.
"It was his job to give us a ticket. He did exactly what he was supposed to do," Dana said.
"He just made this little girl's day a little better, and that's what matters."