Officer William Stacy of Tarrant, Alabama, didn't judge Helen Johnson instead understood her pain and helped her so she would never steal again.
No matter who you are or where you're from you when the survival instinct kicks you become a different person. At that point, the only thing that matters is keeping oneself alive even it means flouting a few laws. That's what happened to Helen Johnson who could no longer see her family go without food. Back in 2014, Johnson was caught stealing eggs from a Dollar General in a desperate attempt to feed her family.
At the time, she was living with her two daughters, niece, and two grandchildren, aged one and three. While the Alabama resident depended on a monthly $120 welfare check to help her family survive, that month the check got lost in the mail. The family also ran on the disability check that Johnson receives, but for some reason, they did not receive that one by then. With just $1.25 in her pocket, Johnson decided to buy a carton of eggs after her family had gone two days without food.
While she thought the amount was enough to get the eggs at the Dollar General on Pinson Valley Parkway, unfortunately, she found herself short of 50 cents and that was excluding tax. Filled with desperation to prevent her family from starving, Johnson quickly stuffed five eggs into her pocket. However, the store worker stopped her from leaving after suspecting that she had stolen something.
"Of course when I put them in my jacket pocket they broke," recalled Johnson, according to AL.com. "I'm not a good thief at all." The incident was reported to the authorities and officer William Stacy of Tarrant, Alabama arrived at the scene. As Johnson waited to be handcuffed, she was surprised to learn that the store had not pressed any charges.
What's more, Officer Stacy walked out of the store and handed her a carton of eggs that he had paid for. "She started crying, she got very emotional and was very apologetic," remembered Officer Stacy. "She tried to give me the money she had on her, $1.25." The mother and grandmother was moved to tears by the cop's unbelievably kind gesture. "I was like, 'Oh my God, thank you Jesus for this man.' He is my hero," she expressed.
Turns out Stacy was no stranger to the struggles of a mother trying to feed her family. While growing up, he had seen his mother go through a lot of trouble to feed him and his sister. What's more, Stacy had met Johnson once before the store-theft incident. He had responded to a call at her home where he saw the poor condition the family was in as they slept on mattresses. So when he met her next time at the Dollar General store, he knew how difficult things were for her.
"I felt like it was the right thing to do. I didn't want to pass judgment on her," said Stacy about buying her the eggs. When the woman asked the cop how she could repay him, he simply asked her to promise that she would never try to steal. "Sometimes the best route is to not arrest," he said. "I hope she won't do it again. I pray she doesn't, and I don't think she will." But Officer Stacey's kindness did not end there, a few days after the encounter at the store, the cop arrived at her doorsteps along with his colleagues.
"I was shook and so scared," said Johnson, who had no clue why Tarrant officers were there. "I thought it was about the eggs. My grandbaby said, 'Are you going to jail?' and I said I hoped not," she added. But moments later, she realized that Officer Stacy and Officer Jay Jenkins were there to deliver two loads of food supplies to her apartment. "I just busted out and started hollering. I was yelling so loud. I would have been a good cheerleader," she said.
"The last time I saw my house this full, I was 12-years-old and staying with my grandmother. I've been crying all day," expressed the woman who was left overwhelmed by the thoughtful gesture of the officers. It is easy to condemn people when they do something unlawful, but it's people who look past these mistakes and help such individuals rise above the crime they have committed are indeed true leaders that the world needs more of.