When officers with the Morrow, Georgia, Police Department made an arrest on Tuesday, they had no idea their interaction with the vehicle’s occupants would end with a viral photo.
The interaction did not start well. The driver was being pulled over for speeding and distracted driving, according to a post by Kaitlyn Ross with WXIA-TV, but then he started arguing with the officer who had stopped him.
Onlooker Sam Juarez said that a woman and her daughter were also in the car, and the little girl witnessed the whole thing as the man, her mother’s boyfriend, made a scene and was then arrested.
As other officers arrived, interim Police Chief David Snively spotted the little girl, who was quite shaken up, and took a moment to reassure her.
“Late this afternoon, Interim Chief Snively responded to assist an officer with the arrest of a motorist,” the police department shared on Facebook.
“Also in the vehicle were a little girl and her mother. While the mother spoke with officers, Chief Snively noticed the child crying.
“He knelt and comforted her, answering her questions and explaining what was happening — all without knowing this photo was being taken,” the Facebook post continued.
“Interactions like this happen every day, at every level of our department; and we’re proud that a community member thought to take this picture and share it with us!”
The surreptitiously snapped photo has gone viral, with thousands finding the moment a shining example of the best work law enforcement does, and a reminder that many of the people serving their communities in uniform are caring parents themselves.
Eventually the photo got back to Snively, who took the time to jot down his own reaction to the heartfelt moment.
“Today was a hard day, but late this afternoon I was right where I needed to be,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “This little girl walked confidently up to me during a traffic stop, fighting back tears as she asked me if her mom’s boyfriend — who was being arrested — would ever come home.
“It ripped my heart out. I promised her that he was safe and that he would be home soon. She nodded, then wrapped her little arms around me, laid her head on my shoulder, and sobbed.
“I was both saddened by the moment and encouraged that she felt safe with me; it was a terrible, beautiful moment. I had no idea this picture was taken until it was sent to me several hours later.
“There are many things in my life beyond my understanding, plenty of failures and disappointments. But one thing has been always clear to me: I know my purpose on this earth. Today, God put me in a place to use it, and I am certain that sweet little girl did more for me than I could have done for her.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.