Alabama police officer William Stacy was called to a local Dollar General store to deal with a stealing eggs incident. Helen Johnson, 47, stole five eggs to feed her hungry children. The store chose not to press charges against the desperate mother, and Stacy reached into his own pocket and purchased one dozen eggs for the family.
The viral “stealing eggs” story does not end there. On Wednesday, William Stacy and his fellow Alabama police officers delivered two truckloads of food to the Helen Johnson family. The food will feed Johnson’s children and grandchildren through Christmas. The hug between the officer and the poor mother was captured on video, and quickly went viral.
The compassion William Stacy displaced towards Helen Johnson appears to have captured the attention of millions of Americans. The emotional interaction between the white police officer and the black woman stands in stark contrast to the ongoing racial animosity and protests over the Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice deaths.
“As of right now, with all the stuff going on in Ferguson, New York, and all over the U.S., it’s good to have this kind of story. It gives a positive image for law enforcement,” Officer Stacy said.
Law enforcement officers at Stacy’s department established a fund at People’s First Federal Credit Union in Tarrant so donations could be collected for the Johnson family. One man from New York called in with a donation. The man said that for the past two months, he has been angry with the police. However, due to the William Stacy and Helen Johnson stealing eggs story, he has “totally changed his mind.”
“The last time I saw my house this full, I was 12-years-old and staying with my grandmother. I’ve been crying all day,” Helen Johnson said after the food delivery by Officer William Stacy and his friends.
Each week, Helen Johnson buys food for her two daughters, a niece, and two toddler grandchildren. The Alabama woman said she does so with a welfare check of $120 per month. Whether she is also on food stamps is unknown.
Last week, when Helen Johnson stole eggs from the Dollar General store, she said her welfare check was lost in the mail and the children were close to starvation. On Saturday, when she took the five eggs from the store, the family had not eater for two days. Johnson said she had $1.25 and wanted to buy eggs from the store, but she was shy 50 cents, and decided to put five eggs in her pocket.
The five eggs broke inside Johnson’s pockets. The egg yolks dripping from her pockets caught the attention of the Dollar General clerk who called the police. Although it likely did not seem like it at the time, the Tarrant police cruiser was carrying Johnson’s knight in shining armor.
“I am not a good thief at all,” she said.
“She started crying, she got very emotional and apologetic. She tried to give me the money she had with her, $1.25,” William Stacy said.
The officer recalled Johnson from a previous visit to her home, and remembers how poverty stricken the family was, stating that they all slept on mattresses on the floor.
“I felt like it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to pass judgment on her. I hope she won’t do it again. I pray she doesn’t and I don’t think she will,” Officer Stacy said.
When the police officers came to her home this week, one of her grandchildren asked if she was going to jail over the eggs.
“I hope not,” Johnson said.
Instead of pulling out handcuffs, the officers grabbed box upon box of food, clothing, and toys for the family.
What do you think about the William Stacy and Helen Johnson encounter?
[Image via: Alabama Media Group]