Cops drove 87-year-old woman across Utah to see sick son
Four troopers drove an 87-year-old woman 180 miles across five Utah counties to see her ailing son in the hospital Friday, Trooper Jeff Jones of the Utah Highway Patrol told USA TODAY Network.
"She needed to get there," said Jones, who coordinated the effort.
Helen "Skeeter" Smith of Panaca, Nev., was rushing to see her ill son on I-15 in central Utah when she was pulled over for driving passed a stopped police car on the side of the highway with its lights on, according to Jones, who pulled her over.
Utah has a "slow down and move over" law that requires drivers to move away from stopped police cars to prevent accidents.
After being issued a verbal warning by Jones, Smith tried to pull back onto the highway, but accidentally put the car in reverse and rammed the front of Jones' cop car.
"Then she started crying and told me about (her son's) condition and what treatment he was under and how they had moved him to ICU. I said, 'I don't feel comfortable letting you drive.' She was almost in hysterics about not being able to go," said Jones, who has been a trooper for 11 years.
Jones arranged to move her car to the sheriff's department parking lot and then coordinated a shuttle system with troopers in other counties.
He drove her the first leg of the trip and then handed her off to another trooper, a system that continued until she arrived at Ogden Regional Medical Center in Ogden, Utah.
She made it to the hospital in time to see her son.
"Four good-lookin' patrol boys brought me," Smith told KUTV about the experience.
Smith's son was moved to hospice care Tuesday and she is with him, according to Dwayne Baird, spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Watch what this Alabama police officer buys for alleged shoplifter
Officer William Stacy encountered a woman who had allegedly attempted to shoplift food but didn't ticket her. Instead, he bought her the item she was intending to steal.
"I was dispatched to Dollar General who said they had a shoplifter," Stacy, 23, told ABC News this morning. "When I arrived on the scene, I confronted her. She said her sorry and was honest about what she did."
Rather than making her pay for the alleged petty crime, Stacy had her wait outside in the parking lot while he bought a dozen eggs for her to take home to the children.
"I can't tell you how many times she said thank you," Stacy said. "She even started crying and asked me for a hug. She tried to pay me for the eggs with the little bit of money that she did have, but I wouldn't take it. I told her the best way for her to repay me was for her to never shoplift again."
A fellow shopper recorded Stacy's act of kindness and shared it on Facebook. Since then, the video has gotten over 500,000 hits. Since news spread of Stacy's kind gesture, the Tarrant Police Department has been flooded with calls from strangers who want to help Johnson and others who are less fortunate.
"I can't believe that such a small simple gesture got this big," he said. "If it was the same circumstance, I wouldn't turn away somebody who was trying to help their kids in a time of need."
Police Officers Deliver Surprise Presents â€“ Not Tickets â€“ During Holiday Traffic Stops
At a particularly sensitive time for police forces around the country, one department in Michigan is inspiring people with its own version of goodwill and generosity.
Officers from the Lowell, Michigan, police department surprised plenty of drivers last month when they were pulled over for routine traffic stops. Instead of tickets, the unsuspecting motorists were about to receive gifts from their very own Christmas lists, an act of kindness all captured on video.
Officer Scot VanSolkema acted as the department's Santa, wearing a hidden camera and microphone as he chatted up drivers after he pulled them over. VanSolkema asked them what they wanted for the holidays, all while fellow officers were listening in and scrambling at a local store to rush items from the drivers' wish lists to the scene.
The motorists' shocked and surprised expressions were captured on video as they received gifts like new televisions, Apple iPads, Xbox Ones, gift certificates and even some coveted but pricey presents sought by their children.
Several overwhelmed drivers couldn't help question how VanSolkema pulled off his gifting, but he chalked it up to the magic of Christmas. "Well, we've got radios and sleighs and magic elves," he responded.
The video's creator said he was inspired to shoot the project because of his belief in the hard work of those in law enforcement, who often quietly go out of their way to help people in need.
"I feel there's tons of great police officers who are getting missed in all the negative police coverage," viral video marketer Rob Bliss, who created the spot, told PEOPLE.
"A big part of police work is public safety-community outreach, the proactive side of police work," Bliss said, noting that the video, created on behalf of UP TV's "Uplift Someone" campaign, has earned nearly 1.3 million views on Facebook in the 24 hours since it was first posted.
"The feedback has been enormously positive. I thought there may be at least a bit of negativity given all the negative police stories currently trending, but it has been across-the-board positive," he said