A routine shopping trip to a downtown Calgary Safeway turned into an extraordinary act of kindness for a Calgary police officer.
Paul de Andrade was getting groceries Wednesday evening when he noticed a constable in uniform paying for a few bags of groceries for another customer.
“It almost made me cry,” de Andrade said.
“There’s a a lot of negativity in the world and that kind of move felt profound and absolutely positive.”
de Andrade said this gesture deserved a salute.
“To see somebody doing something so genuinely and humbly — I ran out of the store to thank him as best I could and he accepted no praise and he did it out of the kindness of his heart,” de Andrade said.
He snapped a quick photo of the officer’s police car, he posted it on social media hoping to identify him. It worked.
Const. Brad Milne and his partner Const. Kevin Lisowski came forward, though reluctantly. They said as extraordinary as seems, their gesture was about as ordinary as it gets.
“I didn’t want to come in the media and we didn’t want our faces out there. I was fine to be anonymous, but with all the negativity going on, that’s why I agreed to speak with you,” Milne said.
“To put a positive face, not ours, but we wanted the service to be recognized. We were observed for doing something that other officers do all the time.”
The officers explained how they were called to deal with a disturbance at a different grocery store but instead of arresting him for trespassing, they talked to him.
“We took him to a bank machine and wasn’t able to obtain any funds,” Lisowski said. “He kept saying he was hungry and just wanted food.”
They learned the man was recently homeless. So they took him to another store and went shopping with him to make sure he wouldn’t be harassed.
“When he went up to pay, knowing he only had $40 left, I just tapped my card just thinking nobody saw,” Milne said.
“When we went to get back in our truck, some guy came out and said: ‘I saw what you did,’ and I said: ‘You’re not supposed to see what we did; it’s just something that we do.”
“It was a way to treat a human like a human,” Milne said.
“When we are not working, we are part of this community. These people are someone’s son and someone’s daughter.”
“People don’t realize we aren’t just arresting people, we are looking for solutions, buying them coffee, throw them a toonie to get on the train,” Milne said.
But something simple restored faith in humanity for some people.
“That is absolutely above and beyond an expectation,” de Andrade said.
“We should be taking that as an example to what we can do to better the world and find better ways of helping people.”