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.
An Ohio police officer is being praised after going above and beyond to help a homeless family.
According to Today, Tierra Gray and her family were evicted from their Oxford, Ohio, home and didn't have a place to stay. Desperate, the mother brought her two sons to the Butler County Sheriff's Office to sleep in the lobby.
Deputy Brian Bussell saw the family sitting in the lobby and assumed that they were there to visit somebody. However, when he noticed that they were still there hours later, he asked if they needed any help and was shocked by what she told him.
"The lady had been evicted from her home in Oxford, Ohio where the children attend school," a post on the Butler County Sheriff's Office Facebook page reads. "She stated she is in the waiting process for assistance with housing and should know something by Wednesday. Deputy Bussell, with the assistance of Dispatch Supervisor Miranda Sheppard, tried several shelters and other avenues to get them a place to stay. 'Most of the shelters were overcrowded or there was a time requirement to be there and we were past that,' Deputy Bussell said."
After struggling to find the family a place to stay, Bussell did something entirely unexpected -- he called a nearby hotel and booked the family a room for 10 nights. He paid for the hotel room out of his own pocket.
Then, Bussell went one step further and took the family to Walmart, where he told them to pick out clothing and to call him when they were ready to check out. The boys asked him if they could buy shoes and he happily obliged.
"He went to the Walmart when they were done and paid for everything,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones. "This is a true act of kindness. He did not tell anyone at work what he had done but the lady took a picture with him and posted it on Facebook. That’s actually how we found out. It was shared so many times that I got a phone call asking if I knew what a generous gesture my deputy did. I am pleased that he was able to help this family out. This speaks volumes in light of all the recent negativity people are saying about law enforcement. I have some of the best employees here."
Thanks in no small part to Bussell, Gray and her family are getting back on their feet. They were able, after some time, to move into a new apartment and her husband found a job in Cincinnati.
"It means something to me to be able to help others, but it's just part of my job description," Bussell said.