Photo showing a Louisiana police officer, David Taylor, comforting a distressed boy who missed his parents and got lost in the crowd at a street fair in Crowley, Louisiana, has gone viral online.
The photo has warmed the hearts of thousands of social media users, and many are saying the image of a police officer protecting and serving is a welcome change amid the recent pattern of news headlines portraying police officers in a negative light.
Officer Taylor — with the Crowley Police Department — was one of officers on duty at the International Rice Festival in Crowley last weekend. While patrolling at the street fair, a young woman drew his attention to a distressed child who had strayed from his parents in the crowd.
But the boy felt so comfortable with the officer that he soon fell asleep, leaving him to do the search on his own.
Fortunately, the dutiful officer was able to locate the little boy’s mother after searching for about 30 minutes.
“He was extremely upset… I put him on my shoulders to see if he would be able to see his parents. He started to fall asleep, and I moved him down to my chest.”
But the officer has downplayed the incident, saying he does not deserve the attention he is getting because he was only doing his job as a police officer.
“What I was doing is nothing different from the rest of our law enforcement colleagues,” Taylor told ABC News. “The only difference is that someone took a photo of me.”
But the selfless dedication of the police officer, who has been with the Crowley Police Department for only 18 months, is indicated by the fact that he still does not know the name of the child or the parents. It shows that as far as he was concerned, helping the little boy find his parents was just another part of his daily routine as an officer.
“I understand that he helped the little boy for quite a while until he found the mother and that was just really great to see,” she added. “He was just showing him the sights and holding him and keeping him comfortable.”
She said that although she realized that Taylor was only doing his job, it was still a heartwarming sight.
Another witness, Carolyn Senegal, said the incident was heartwarming after the deluge of negative publicity about police officers in recent times.
“I think it’s awesome because we hear so much negative things about our police officers today so I’m happy to say that I’ve seen something that’s a positive image. That’s an officer going above and beyond the call of duty,” she said.
According to KLFY, Police Chief K.P. Gibson said he was proud of Taylor and other officers of the Crowley Police Department. He said he wished that the public would have greater opportunity to witness the selfless dedication of police officers performing everyday duties.
Despite trying to downplay the incident and declining an interview on camera, Taylor said he was grateful for the appreciation of his effort. He said he hoped the incident would have a positive impact on public perception of police.
“If it shines a true light on what police officers do and can do, then [this] is a good thing,” he said.
[Image via KATC-TV3 / Facebook]