Most of us will, mercifully, never know what it’s like to be homeless. The thought of just wandering around on the streets day and night, looking for a place to rest your weary head, wondering where your next meal is coming from, is depressing and frightening. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that millions of people actually live every day.
One elderly man in Phoenix, Arizona was living that existence, and times were tough. It was cold out, and the older man didn’t even have a pair of shoes to keep his feet warm. It’s unclear whether his shoes had been destroyed or stolen, but the man was left with no choice. He stumbled around the city streets, barefoot, until his feet were red and raw.
The homeless man was loitering near a gas station one day, and someone called police. Phoenix Police Officer Mark Valenzuela arrived, but instead of arresting the man or telling him to be on his way, Valenzuela took a look at the unfortunate individual and noticed he didn’t have any shoes.
Valenzuela then shocked the bystanders by opening the trunk to his police cruiser and pulling out a box. Someone started filming after Valenzuela dropped to his knees in front of the homeless man.
It turns out that the officer had a brand-new pair of shoes in the trunk, and he knelt to put them on the homeless man’s feet for him.
“Officer here giving a homeless guy free shoes, brand new shoes,” reports the video maker. “That just shows… exactly how much our officers in Phoenix help the community… and protect the community, so I just thought I’d post this and let everybody know.”
Valenzuela didn’t mug for the camera or look for compliments. He just went about fitting the homeless man with the new shoes, then helped the elderly man to walk for a little while to ensure they fit and were comfortable. You could see the elderly man struggling to walk, but once he had his balance and was able to shuffle off by himself, the officer had done his job.
Valenzuela closed the trunk, got in his car and drove away.
Hard2PleAZ Entertainment on YouTube posted the video showing the officer’s kind deed in hopes of raising awareness about the good things police do for their communities every day. If you were to poke around on social media, you’d find one testimony after another about police buying a hungry family a meal, putting a homeless person up in a hotel on a cold winter night, or giving a ride to a stranded person trying to get to work.
Unfortunately, stories like these don’t make ratings or sell headlines, so they’re brushed over quickly and people forget about them. It’s much easier to get attention when pointing to police when they do something wrong or make mistakes, but when it comes to all the things police officers do every day, that is really just a drop in the bucket. Good cops deserve more recognition than they get.