In 2013, Miami-Dade Police Department detective Vicki Thomas felt compelled to do something “more” in a situation where she was called in for shoplifting.
According to CNN, the shoplifter, a woman named Jessica Robles, had attempted to leave a Publix with items worth $300, the Miami-Dade Police Department said.
In this case, an arrest would have been warranted, but Thomas stopped and looked into the history of Robles. The mom had mentioned no big past crimes and said it was because her children were hungry that she had stolen food.
The officer asked if she had food at home, and the mother replied, “Not at all.”
“I could relate,” Thomas stated, according to KDVR. “I was a single mom and, without the help of my family, that could have been me.”
Moved by the plight of the single mother, Thomas went back to the store and bought food for the Robles family worth $100. The mother was fined with a misdemeanor, but she was not arrested, and the family also had some much-needed food.
“I don’t condone shoplifting,” Thomas said, according to Fox News. “It is a crime, but the food banks wouldn’t have been open that night and her children were hungry that night. So I had to act.”
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry.”
“To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas,” Thomas said. “That $100 to me was worth it.”
Robles had two young boys and a 12-year-old daughter named Anais.
Anais was incredibly gratious for Thomas’ intervention and stated how difficult it was to see her own brothers so hungry.
It’s “not fun,” Anais told WSVN, “to see my brother in the dirt hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘There is nothing here.’”
“Her ‘thank you’ touched me a great deal,” Thomas said. “She was very sincere, and that made it all worthwhile.”
The gesture was not a new act of kindness for Thomas, and she diverted some of the praise by making sure to highlight her fellow officers’ generosity as well.
“I have done similar things before, and the people I work with have also done similar things,” she said.
“The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out,” she added. “And she said she would.”
According to KTVU, all the attention Robles received led to good Samaritans raising $700 of grocery money and a job as a customer service representative.
“There’s no words how grateful I am that you took your time and helped somebody out,” the grateful mother said at the time. “Especially somebody like me.”