What started as a case of shoplifting in Payne County, ended in tears when a police officer helped a woman struggling to feed herself and her kids.
Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Yale Police Chief Phillip Kelly responded to a call of shoplifting at the Dollar General location on West Chicago Avenue.
Kelly was in the middle of delivering Thanksgiving dinners to families in need as part of the department’s “Thanksgiving Donation Drive”.
After reviewing surveillance video, Kelly immediately recognized the suspect who returned the merchandise before leaving the store.
The manager decided not to press charges, and instead urged the suspect be given a trespass warning.
“I found the woman and as I was talking to her, I told her you can't go back in there,” said Kelly. “She started crying and that made me tear up.”
Kelly learned the woman was living in her car and was taking food to help feed her family. He knew something had to be done.
“After I gave her the trespass warning, I thought to myself the only right thing to do is feed her,” said Kelly. “That is the only human thing to do.”
After the conversation, Kelly returned with a thanksgiving meal for the family. The mother’s reaction was priceless.
“She just couldn't stop crying and then it made me cry,” said Kelly. “I’m supposed to be a tough cop and all, but it just gets you.”
Around 40 to 50 families in need are provided Thanksgiving dinners through the department’s drive. Kelly hopes to keep growing the program.
“There is always somebody that needs help that is less fortunate than you. By gosh, we are going to help them,” said Kelly.
The Yale Police Thanksgiving Dinner Donation Drive is paid for largely by donations, however, Kelly does spend money out of his own pocket to make sure every family in the community has a meal.
The Yale Police Department is accepting donations for the Thanksgiving drive and its upcoming Christmas toy drive. Click here for more information.