It was a simple gesture of generosity by a police officer that would have gone unnoticed if the scene hadn’t moved one onlooker.
Janet Balestriero pulled over after seeing a three-car crash in Coral Springs, Florida. But in the midst of it all, she witnessed something that moved her: a police officer conversing with a small boy.
The child’s parent had been involved in the accident and was speaking with police authorities. Meanwhile, the officer sat comfortably by the side of the road with the small youngster.
At moments like this, parents can easily lose track of their children; fortunately, this officer realized that this boy’s parent was likely in shock and may have been distracted by the events. He also realized that such a traumatic situation necessitated some distraction strategies on his part.
While the dramatic clean-up of the incident happened around them, the officer chose to sit comfortably on the side of the road with the young child and converse about his favorite Disney character, a toy firetruck between them.
Balestriero captured the moment on camera and shared it on the Coral Springs Police Department’s Facebook page.
“It was an act of kindness,” Balestriero said. “I try to find a little kindness every day in a world that’s gone crazy.”
The photo, which quickly went viral, featured Officer Bryan Dougherty, a member of the Coral Springs Police Agency’s SWAT unit who has been with the department since 2016.
Coral Springs Police Chief Clyde Parry said on Facebook: “So proud of our officers. Things like this happen often, but are rarely reported on.”
Balestriero stated that she was on her way home from a doctor’s visit when she was involved in the incident, adding, “No one was gravely harmed.”
Balestriero noticed Dougherty talking to the youngster while his parent dealt with the accident while she waited her turn to speak with an officer.
Balestriero is a part of the Kindness Rock Project, which invites individuals to write messages on rocks and leave them for others to find and collect. Someone in her group intends to paint a rock with a Disney character’s image and Dougherty’s badge number and deposit it at the Coral Springs Police Department.
“A single act of kindness can have a ripple effect,” she said. “We have to see the kindness in the world.”
It’s critical to emphasize the crucial community work that so many police officers conduct every day. I’m so grateful Janet shared this photo with me.
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