A single mom caught shoplifting food for her children received a tear-jerking surprise when her arresting officer recognized her as not just a woman breaking the law but a woman in need of help.
Jessica Robles and her three children, appearing with tears in their eyes and now food in their bellies, expressed their thanks this week after they say the woman in uniform came to their rescue.
It was late last month when Robles, down on her luck but desperate to feed her children, was caught rolling out a shopping cart with $300 worth of food from a Publix supermarket by Miami-Dade Police Officer Vicki Thomas.
When she asked if she had paid for all the food she was carrying, Robles confessed that she hadn’t.
“I asked her, ‘Why would you do that? What would make you do that?'” Thomas told WSVN. “And she said, ‘My children are hungry.'”
Thomas pulled her aside and checked her criminal history. Finding nothing major, she charged her with a misdemeanor.
However it was Robles’ story that left Thomas concerned, as she knew the single woman’s problem wasn’t at its end.
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry,” she told the station.
Thomas spent $100 of her own money on groceries for the young mother, which when taken to Robles’ home were visibly seen as a treat.
Anais, Robles’ 12-year-old daughter, had tears streaming down her face as she expressed her thanks.
Around her, her two brothers, ages 6 and 2, ran below her feet with smiles on their faces.
It’s “not fun to see my brother in the dirt, hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘there is nothing here,'” the 12-year-old sobbed to the news station.
Robles she that she had been receiving federal assistance to buy food, but a paperwork issue stopped the aid from coming. Making matters worse, her boyfriend recently lost his job as well, she said.
Still needing to be a mother to her three children, Robles expressed Thomas’ kindness as being the fresh boost of support and literal energy to get her moving again.
She said she’s applying for jobs and is collecting food at a local food pantry.
Thomas, reflecting on her good deed, told WSVN that she only asked that once Robles is back on her feet again, she pay it forward to someone else in need.
“And she said she would,” said Thomas.