EMMETT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (ABC) – A Michigan police officer is being hailed as a hero after he bought a car seat for a mother and daughter in need, and someone posted a photo on social media of their touching encounter.
Emmett Township Public Safety Officer Ben Hall received a call from dispatch Friday in the Michigan township of nearly 20,000 people that a young child was spotted in a car without a booster seat.
When the car matching the description drove by, Hall pulled it over and found a 5-year-old seat belted in the backseat with no booster seat.
The child’s mother, Alexis DeLorenzo, was in the car’s passenger seat while a friend was driving.“She said she was aware that her daughter should be in a booster seat and explained that her car had been repossessed and she had a car seat in the car but they’re not allowing her to get her items out of the car,” Hall, 31, told ABC News.
Instead of issuing DeLorenzo a ticket for the violation, the officer took DeLorenzo and her daughter to a local Walmart and purchased a $50 car seat out of his own pocket for the family.
“I pulled one of them off the shelf and the little girl ran up to it and hugged it and said, ‘I love this one,’ so the decision was made by her,” Hall said.
DeLorenzo, who could not be reached today by ABC News, was so appreciative of Hall’s generosity that she had her friend snap a photo of her with Hall and her daughter in the Walmart checkout line.
Unbeknownst to Hall at the time, a Walmart employee also took a photo and posted it on Facebook.
“It just exploded to what it is today, which is just unbelievable,” Hall said. “It’s important to note what I did isn’t any different from what happens 1,000 times across the country by police officers.”
“It just so happens that this was placed in the media,” he said of the photo, which has gone viral.
Along with the accolades for Hall have come some criticisms that DeLorenzo should have found a car seat for her daughter beforehand from a fire house or church that would have them for free.Hall said that he has been in touch with DeLorenzo since the gift and told her that those criticisms do not matter.
“The bottom line is I’m aware of those avenues and we’ve discussed them, but it was early evening on a weekend and I was in a position to help,” Hall said. “What I did was for that young child and to help out the mother.”
“It just means that another person will get one at a fire house or church center that may be giving them away,” he said.
Hall, who was been a Township police officer for nearly three years, said he is also helping DeLorenzo to retrieve her personal items from her repossessed car.
DeLorenzo posted on Facebook that her family, “hit a really bad financial situation,” and thanked Officer Hall for his help.
“PSO Hall was going out of his way to help my family, and I will be forever grateful!,” she wrote. “And as soon as I can afford it I will be paying forward.”