A citizen flagged down Officer James Riley of the Austin, Texas, Police Department last week and said a young boy was walking by himself in a parking lot.
Riley located the boy, the department said on its Facebook page — and then began learning of about a heartbreaking situation.
Turns out the boy walked to a corner store alone to get snacks for a younger sibling, police said. Riley was concerned for the boy's safety, so he gave him a ride home.
But after Riley was inside the boy's residence, the officer discovered the family was going through hard financial times, police said.
Police on Tuesday told TheBlaze that children in the residence were alone at the time and that the officer contacted a parent. But Riley made sure he talked to the kids about safety and that they should never leave their home without an adult, police said.
Then Riley went the extra mile.
Police said he went to an H-E-B supermarket and purchased a shopping cart full of groceries and snacks the young boy and his siblings could prepare without needing to turn on a stove.
Riley also bought items that a parent could cook, the post said.
The department said Riley "showed true heart with this act of kindness and is just one example of how our officers work to make Austin a safe community."
'Brought tears to my eyes'
Commenters on the department's Facebook page were in agreement:
- "This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Officer Riley, for helping this family and inspiring others to do the same."
- "Thank you for being such a stand-up member of our community. Compassion is a beautiful gift to give. I'm sure you made a wonderful impression on those kids."
- "Thank you for going above and beyond, especially for the youngest citizens of Austin."
- "Thank you, sir, for sharing your JESUS heart with these children & their family. You are a blessing to be blessed."
This story has been updated.