Note: we are republishing this story in light of recent reports across the country that suggest more and more Americans are having positive interactions with police officers despite changing attitudes about police departments and wider conversation about police reform.
Tacoma resident Darren Ballard Sr. was sitting in traffic with his fiancée when they noticed something extraordinary.
Parked next to them was a police car, but the on-duty sheriff’s deputy was outside, sitting on a patch of grass by the road with a homeless man.
Speaking to CBS News, Darren said: "I just couldn't believe my eyes," after seeing the deputy split a sandwich and share with the man.
He quickly snapped a picture and posted it on his Facebook page with the caption: "Just saw this cop having a sandwich with a homeless guy in the cut wanting no attention just doing a good deed. There are good police officers out there people this made my day please share!!!!!"
The post quickly went viral, with Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Ed Troyer explaining the story behind the viral photo on the department’s Facebook page.
The deputy, who wanted to maintain his anonymity, had found the homeless man panhandling and began talking to him.
"Our deputy asked him if he was hungry the man said he was. So, the deputy sat down with him and shared his lunch with the man," the post read.
Troyer stated that these kinds of incident occur "quite often" in the department.
Darren’s post attracted hundreds of comments, with one person writing: "I think this is fabulous. Cops are humans too -- just like this fellow that happens to be homeless."
"Most are good people. It's nice to see this side of them," a second wrote.
Darren told CBS News: "It's nice for the police, who do handle their job with the utmost passion and respect in the field, get a break with some good positive news for a change."
Sources: CBS News