It’s never easy living in poverty, and when one loving Mom had to make the choice between stealing food or letting her kids go hungry, she attempted to take five eggs from a local store but was caught. When Constable William Stacy arrived at the scene and heard her story, he felt sorry for her and, instead of punishing her, decided to change something.
That day he decided to buy the eggs for her and to give her, Mrs. Johnson, a hug.
Johnson nurtures her two daughters, nieces and two grandchildren, ages 1 and 3, at only $ 120 a month.
However, last week her pay was lost, leaving the Johnsons on the brink of starvation.
By Saturday, the family had not eaten for two days, so Johnson went to the local Dollar General with only $1.25 to try and buy eggs.
To her despair she found herself 50 cents short of being able to buy the eggs, and put five eggs into her pockets.
At the time it may not have seemed that way, but fortuitously the eggs broke in her pocket.
“I am not a good thief at all,” Mrs. Johnson said.
The store’s staff stopped her as she was about to leave the jacket with the egg whites and yolks, and Johnson immediately admitted that she had stolen them to feed her family.
The store had already called the police and when Officer William arrived, he told her to stay where she was while he talked with the store owners.
They decided together not to lay charges against Ms. Johnson, but when they arrived at the grandmother’s house with tears, she expected handcuffs to be brought.
“She started crying, she got very emotional and was very apologetic,” Officer William said. “She tried to give me the money she had on her, $1.25.”
William explained that she would not be arrested. He remembered her during a previous visit to her home and her poverty. His family sleeps on mattresses on the floor.
“The story she told me Saturday matched up with what I had seen when I was there,” said officer William.
“I felt like it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to pass judgment on her.”
He bought her a carton of eggs and when Johnson asked Stacy how she could repay him, he simply asked her never to shoplift again.
“I hope she won’t do it again. I pray she doesn’t, and I don’t think she will,” said William.
Just before she got into her car, Johnson turned to hug Stacy and unknown to them, the moment was captured on cellphone by Robert ‘Dollar’ Tripp who posted it to Facebook with the hashtag, ‘feelgoodstoryoftheday’.
Then wanting to help her more, that week William and some colleagues showed up at the woman’s house with two truckloads worth of food for her and her family.
“The last time I saw my house this full, I was 12-years-old and staying with my grandmother,” said Mrs. Johnson. “I’ve been crying all day.”
Afterwards the officers decided to setup a fund at People’s First Federal Credit Union so that Mrs. Johnson could receive donations, which after this story went viral began pouring in. Police Chief Williams said he received calls from all over the United States and around the world to thank and offer to give Mrs. Johnson money, food and clothing.
“This woman’s getting plenty of food,” the chief said. “She shouldn’t be hungry for a while.”