It’s all in a day’s work, said a Calgary police officer who voluntarily paid for a vulnerable man’s groceries.
Eleven-year Calgary Police veteran Cst. Brad Milne was spotted purchasing groceries for a man who’d allegedly attempted to shoplift at the Safeway on 11 Avenue and 8 Street SW on Wednesday.
Calgarian Paul de Andrade was standing in line behind Milne, his partner and another man when he witnessed Milne quickly tap his debit card to pay for the groceries.
“It was like, three big bags worth of food. It wasn’t just a chocolate bar,” said de Andrade.
Andrade quickly followed the officers to their vehicle to offer his gratitude for Milne’s kind gesture.
“The officer was so humble. He accepted no praise, which was what really moved me,” said de Andrade.
“I could tell his actions were completely genuine, and he wasn’t interested in anything other than helping that person.”
The warm action by the Calgary police officer – and Andrade’s response were posted to Twitter by Crackmacs.
Milne and his partner had dealt with the alleged shoplifter twice that day. He said they had to escort him out of the East Village Superstore for shoplifting. They responded again when the same person returned to Superstore later that afternoon.
“We told him after the first call that if he returned to this location today, that it would be considered trespassing,” said Milne.
During the first call, Milne and his partner took the man to a nearby ATM to get cash to pay for the groceries. His card was declined.
An hour later, Milne received another call saying the man had returned to the same Superstore. They were incorrectly told that he had assaulted one of the security guards.
“There was no punch, he was just trying to get past the security guard,” said Milne.
“(The man) was very upset.”
Milne and his partner then took the man back to their vehicle, giving him the chance to calm down.
“We took off his cuffs and let him blow his nose, and he just kept saying he was hungry,” said Milne.
“He had 40 dollars in his hand, and we knew it was his last 40 dollars.”
A helping hand
Milne and his partner offered to take the man to the Safeway on 11 Avenue and 8 Street SW to buy groceries. As they drove, Milne noticed the man was visibly nervous.
“We said, ‘hey, how about we walk with you in the store, we’ll keep security off your back, we won’t get called back, we’ll just be beside you like we’re walking and talking as friends,'” said Milne.
Once outside, the man tapped elbows with both officers, told them thank you, and left.
“His hands were pretty dirty from crying, so we bumped elbows like everybody’s been doing because of COVID,” said Milne.
Shortly after, Milne was caught off guard by Andrade tapping on the police car window to say he saw what they did and offer gratitude.
“It wasn’t meant to be seen, it was just something we were doing, like we always do,” said Milne.
“We take opportunities like that quite often, as does every police officer I’ve ever worked with.”
Calgary police and the public provide helping hands
Milne said the public have proven to offer just as much assistance in these situations as the police do.
Earlier in the day, a woman attempted to offer the person a sandwich. Due to the person’s aggravated state, Milne had to tell her no.
“The public are out there doing good deeds, too, I’m just the one that got caught,” Milne said.
Milne said his partner didn’t know he had paid for the man’s groceries until after Andrade approached them.
“My partner had no idea I’d paid for the groceries. It’s not the kind of thing we tell each other,” said Milne.
“We don’t toot our own horns; it’s just stuff we do.”
de Andrade said he was shocked that the officer decided to take such generous action, given the circumstances.
“I think the officer really made a statement within his own industry by helping people in a broader sense,” he said.
“It almost brought me to tears.”
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