A Kansas police officer was so touched by the story of a widowed mother of six, caught stealing, that he had to help her out himself.
A shoplifting report is what originally brought Officer Mark Engravalle out to the Roeland Park Wal-Mart earlier this week.
But when he arrived at the store, the officer says he found a tearful Sarah Robinson and her six children in the parking lot, according to KSHB.
Officer Engravalle said he immediately noticed that three of her children weren’t wearing shoes, and that their feet were covered in dirt. “Being a father myself, it obviously pulled at my heart,” Engravalle told KSHB.
Robinson allegedly stole $300 worth of children’s shoes, diapers and baby wipes from Wal-Mart. She told Ofc. Engravalle that she’d been struggling, living with the kids in her car since her husband died several years ago.
At that point, the police officer went back inside the Wal-Mart and used his own money to buy diapers, wipes and a pair of shoes for each of Robinson’s children.
Robinson says she was so grateful for the officer’s generosity. “He did something that will never be forgotten. He helped us when nobody else will,” she told KSHB.
Robinson says she’s embarrassed by what she did, but was desperate in that moment to get the items for her daughters.
“Every morning I get up and keep breathing for them. I could take the easy way out and send them to live with my mom, but I’m not going to do that. They’re the reason I live,” she said.
Engravalle ended up giving Robinson a ticket for breaking the law, but ultimately decided not to arrest her.
“What she did was wrong, but I think her heart was in the right place wanting to take care of her children,” he said.