This Police Officer Bought a Shoplifter Pizza for the Best Reason

It was his first week on the job, but the officer couldn’t punish a 12-year-old shoplifter after seeing where she lived.

policeBennian/ShutterstockDuring Atlanta police Officer Che Milton’s first week with the department, he took a call for a robbery. But he wasn’t about to send the suspect to jail.

The shoplifting attempt was from a 12-year-old girl, and all she’d tried to steal was a $2 pair of shoes from a dollar store, according to CNN.

The girl broke down crying. Her family of seven couldn’t afford new shoes, she explained. As the oldest of five children, she’d hoped to surprise her five-year-old sister with a new pair.

Instead of punishing the girl, Milton, who was curious about her living situation, offered to bring her home. Inside the house in a rough neighborhood, the officer’s heart sank. There weren’t enough beds for all five children, and sheets were lying on the floor. A single couch was the only other piece of furniture, and the kitchen was practically empty of food. The girl’s mother, Mrs. Staple, explained that her husband traveled for work a lot but didn’t make much money, and she needed to stay home with the kids instead of getting another job because they couldn’t afford daycare.

Eager to do what he could to support the family, Milton bought them four large pizzas. He also called the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services in hopes of connecting them with a social worker. Within the next few months, he went back a couple more times with clothing and baby items.

Feeling uplifted by Milton’s story, the police department shared his tale of generosity on Facebook. The post didn’t ask for donations, but followers kept commenting to ask how they could send items to the Staple family.

To make sure the family received items they could use, the police department followed up with another post sharing the children’s and mother’s clothing sizes. It also called for diaper, wipes, blanket, and furniture donations and offered to let donors drop items off at a police station. Visit the post to learn how you can help, and find more useful ways to donate your old things.

Do you live in a place where people go the extra mile to help one another? Help us in our search for Nicest Place in America by nominating it today! If chosen, it will appear on an upcoming cover of Reader’s Digest!

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.