SARASOTA, Fla. — An unexpected encounter that lasted mere seconds brought a Florida police officer to tears when he heard the kind message a stranger had for him.
Sarasota officer Scott Patrick said he was walking into the police department to turn in paperwork when a blue SUV pulled up and stopped in the middle of the roadway.
“This caught my attention as I try and be aware of my surroundings at all times, especially in a day and age where officers are targeted simply for wearing a uniform,” he wrote on the department’s Facebook page.
When the driver honked the horn, he figured the man needed directions and walked over.
— SarasotaPD (@SarasotaPD) July 13, 2016
“As I approached the vehicle, the driver opened the door and stepped out. He was very tall, well tall compared to me because I am only 5-foot-8. He immediately said ‘Thank you officer, may I give you a hug?'” Patrick recalled, feeling caught off-guard as the man walked toward him with both arms opened.
He said it wasn’t something he had encountered very often in his 13 years of policing.
“I hesitated for a moment and then said yes. I walked up and he gave me a huge hug! I immediately teared up and struggled to say thank you back to the man without my voice cracking. The man then said ‘get home safe to your family and thank you again for what you do.’ We shook hands and hugged again. I said my name is Scott and he said his was Washington. He then walked back to his car and drove off.
I went inside the police department with tears running down my face and had to take a few minutes to compose myself in the hallway. This man’s random act of kindness overwhelmed me so much because it is not something that we as law enforcement officers hear or see often.
As I reflected about what just happened in that hallway I thought back to the moment I saw that man. I saw a “man” just a citizen, I thought he may need help and I wanted to assist. I didn’t see the color of his skin or his age or religious preference. I just saw a human being, just like I do on every call for service I go on. He saw me as a human being that just happens to be a cop. In case you’re wondering “Washington” was a black man and I am obviously a white cop.”
Patrick said he decided to share his story to bring a smile to peoples’ faces in during difficult time, and hopes people share.