Three officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD) decided to pay a woman’s grocery tab instead of arresting her for alleged shoplifting.
The NYPD officers were at a Manhattan Whole Foods around 1 p.m. Thursday when Whole Foods employees called the police to report a shoplifting incident, WABC reported.
The officers happened to already be in the Union Square Whole Foods buying lunch when they found the woman being detained by security with a bag of food she did not pay for.
“We looked in her bag and all we saw were containers of food, we didn’t see anything else, it was just necessity food,” Officer Esnaidy Cuevas said.
When police approached her to assess her situation, the woman simply told the cops she was hungry.
“I asked her, ‘What’s going on?’ She told me she was hungry,” said Lt. Louis Sojo. “So, I looked in her bag. I decided— we decided— to say ‘We’ll pay for her food.'”
The police decided that instead of arresting her, they would cover her the $35 tab of groceries and send the woman on her way without being charged.
“When you look at someone’s face and you notice that they need you, they’re actually hungry, it’s pretty difficult as a human being to walk away from something like that— we weren’t raised like that, it’s the right thing to do,” Sojo said.
The three cops’ actions did not go unnoticed. The man who initially captured the image, film and TV director Paul Bozymowkski, was in the store tweeting about the Thursday afternoon incident showing the woman in tears after officers paid for her food.
This woman was being held by security.
She had food in her bag she didn’t pay for.
When the NYPD showed up, they paid for her food.
— paul bozymowski (@pboz) July 4, 2019
His tweet went viral, amassing more than 3,800 likes and more than 800 retweets as of Sunday afternoon.
NYPD Chief Terence Monahan tweeted Thursday evening that the officers “are the kind-hearted cops who quietly do good deeds for New Yorkers in need.”
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