Three New York City police officers are being lauded for their compassion after they bought food for a woman was accused of stealing food at a grocery store on Thursday.
New York City Police Department Lieutenant Louis Sojo, Officer Esnaidy Cuevas and Officer Michael Rivera were working in Manhattan on Friday and walked into the Whole Foods store at Union Square to pick up something to eat. While inside, they were stopped by security guards who said a woman was stealing.
The officers saw that the woman had taken 2 or 3 containers of hot food from the Whole Foods buffet, which cost about $35.
“She told me she was hungry,” Sojo said in a news conference on Friday. “We decided to say we’ll pay for her food.”
Sojo said the security guard was “completely shocked.” The woman, while thankful, was also shaken and didn’t have words to express herself in the moment.
“At that moment, she was extremely emotional,” Sojo added. “She did thank us, but she was pretty much speechless.”
A customer at the Whole Foods took to Twitter to share the officers’ good deed and shared an image of them standing next to the woman, who is visibly moved.
— paul bozymowski (@pboz) July 4, 2019
Others immediately joined in, adding their own praises in the comments.
“Thank you for sharing that,” one person wrote. “On many occasions, I have heard of #NYPD cops paying for food for people who couldn't afford it, rather than arresting them. Very rarely does it make the news or social media.”
“It does not surprise me at all we have the best and most generous cops in the world,” another added.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan also responded on Twitter, pointing out how “good deeds” often go unnoticed.
Cops like Lt. Sojo and Officers Cuevas and Rivera of the Strategic Response Group are the kind-hearted cops who quietly do good deeds for New Yorkers in need. My thanks to @pboz for highlighting the often unnoticed. https://t.co/gbsjkx3iVE
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) July 4, 2019
The officers didn’t think that their act of kindness would garner this much attention.
“We’re extremely humbled by this, but we did not do this for attention,” Sojo said at the news conference. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years. This is not the first time I’ve paid for someone’s food, and this is not the first time they’ve paid for someone’s food. You don’t do it all the time, but, you look at someone’s face and you that they need you, and they’re actually hungry. It’s pretty difficult as a human being to walk away from something like that.”
Lt. Sojo said that in a situation like this, the three didn’t even have to have a conversation before deciding to pay for the food. “We all came out with money,” he said.
Officer Cuevas said that they knew it was the right thing to do, and he knew that if he or anyone he was close to was going through something like that, someone would stop and help.
“If I see somebody going through that, I think about all the females I have in my life.” he said. “I would not want to see them going through that.”
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