A Florida police officer in the town of Gainesville was on the job when an elderly man got off the public bus. As the passenger took his final step onto the curb, he put something down on the ground, which didn’t seem like a big deal until the officer discovered what was in the bags, and he was left sickened by what happened seconds later.
Saleem Hasan, 74, was traveling alone, relying on public transportation to get his day’s errands done. With his hands full and struggling with mobility, he placed the items he was carrying down to get a better hold of the railing and help himself off the bus.
No sooner he put his bags on the sidewalk, a strange woman came out of nowhere and stole Hasan’s belongings. She was long gone by the time Officer Franklin got there and found out from the man what was in the sacks that she made off with.
According to a social media post by the Gainesville Police Department, Franklin had been dispatched to the curbside scene for a report of the theft, which happened to be Hasan’s groceries for the entire month. Struggling just to walk, there was no way the aging man could chase the woman down to get his goods back, and buying more wasn’t an option either since he was on a very limited budget. The thought of this frail citizen going hungry until he could afford more food was heartbreaking to Franklin, who couldn’t let that happen.
The cop asked Hasan to come with him, then drove him to the closest Publix grocery store where he bought every single item that had just been stolen from him. The cop didn’t stop until the man had everything that he would need to last him an entire month, then the officer paid for it all out of his own pocket. However, the good deed didn’t stop there.
“Ofc. Franklin was dispatched to the Seagle Building in reference to a theft. Saleem Hasan, 74 years old, got off a bus and put his grocery bags on the ground. An unknown female walked past him and stole his groceries. Mr. Hasan has difficulty with mobility. The $85 of groceries was due to last him the whole month. Ofc. Franklin took it upon himself to go to the Publix where he purchased the groceries and see if they could help with the replacement. They did and with the receipt Ofc. Franklin purchased all the same items and took them to Mr. Hasan. He was very appreciative. These are the efforts that our officers are doing on a regular basis that show the citizens how much we care.”
Knowing that Hasan had no way of getting home unless he took the bus, Franklin gave the guy a comfortable seat in his patrol car and chauffeured him home so he didn’t have to haul his groceries on his own. The needy victim was beyond appreciative that the cop had gone so far out of his way, focusing more on helping him than trying to nab the thief.
While bringing a criminal to justice is certainly a cop’s job, there was a more important duty at hand this day, which was to help the victim who would have gone hungry without Franklin’s kindness. Anyone who can steal food from a frail, elderly and almost handicap man is an especially depraved and desperate kind of criminal. The original theft only totaled $85, but what this officer did for a stranger in return was priceless.