NEW YORK CITY (CNN) – A woman accused of shoplifting at a New York City grocery store this week got quite a surprise from responding police officers.
“We approached her. I asked her what’s going on. She told me she was hungry,” Lt. Louis Sojo said.
But instead of arresting her the three officers paid around $35 of their own money for her food.
“We looked in her bag and we didn’t see what we saw was containers of food. We didn’t see anything else. It was just a necessity food,” Officer Esnaidy Cuevas said.
“When you look at someone’s face and you notice that — that they need you and they’re actually hungry you know?” Lt. Louis Sojo added, “It’s pretty difficult as a human being to walk away from something like that. You know we weren’t raised like that you know. So it’s the right thing to do.”
A few feet away inside the store, a man named Paul Bozymowski snapped a photo of the woman’s reaction, which quickly went viral.
“It was a really nice moment for people,” said Bozymowski. “It was compassionate and the woman obviously was really really grateful.”
The chief of the police department even expressed his support for the officers in a tweet, saying “Cops like Lt. Soho and Officer 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 the photographer for highlighting the often unnoticed.”
The Lieutenant said the woman never gave her information and it is unclear where she is living.
“She did thank us, but she was pretty much speechless,” Sojo said. “I’m extremely humbled by this, but we do not do it for the attention.”