London, Kentucky Police officer Justin Roby received a shoplifting call from a Kroger grocery store. Was it just another call where an arrest would be made and summons issued? Far from it! The manager of the store didn’t want to press charges, and Officer Roby agreed. What changed their minds?
After arriving on the scene, Roby found out that the shoplifter was a single father trying to steal a can of baby formula for his 6-month-old baby. So instead of issuing a ticket for the infraction, Officer Roby bought the father baby formula himself.
“Me citing him for court wouldn’t have done any good for him,” he said. “He’s already short on money, can’t afford formula, so me making him appear in court, he’s still not going to have any food for that baby.”
“You put yourself in the situations,” he said. “I think, ‘Well, what if me and my son, what if this was us?”
Roby also gave the man a message, saying he told the man there are a lot of people and organizations – including the police department – that are available to help those in need.
“I think when [a lot of people] look at us, they see just the uniform and just the car, just the tools that we have on our belt,” Roby said. “But behind the uniform, I’m a human being and I’m a person out in this community just like any of them. I have a little boy. I’m a father just like that gentleman was.
“We’re not these robots,” he said. “There’s a human behind the badge.”
Officer Roby says a lot of people are struggling, and you do not have to be a police officer to offer a helping hand. And now that small act has defined part of Officer Roby’s legacy – forever.
Watch the WKYT video: