Father Of 4 Struggles To Pay Cashier, Looks Up And Sees Officer Running At Him


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They tugged at his jacket. His face glowed red as the cashier scanned through the items. As the beeping increased, so did his heart rate. “Dad!” The youngest stomped her feet and pulled his coat. He couldn’t pay attention to him now; he had to concentrate. When the total flashed across the screen, his heart sank. Heavy footsteps averted his gaze. Then, he noticed the policeman running straight towards him.



The Wall Street Journal

Like everyone, Officer Mike Kelly had his struggles. He was never sure of what career to follow as a child. His father wanted him to run the family business, but he hated the hardware store. After spending the Summer of his sixteenth year working for his father, he was sure of one thing and one thing only—retail was his worst nightmare. But he never expected his career to go this way.


Orlys Restaurant

When Mike informed his father of his decision to go to college, he ignored him two weeks straight. He would return home after work and eat his dinner in silence. His mother did her best to mend their relationship, but every attempt seemed futile. He was sure his father would never forgive him. Then, when his mother asked him to run by the store after school one evening, he discovered something grim.



The store’s front door was locked and the sign had been flipped to ‘closed.’ Mike rubbed his sleeve on the window and peered through. In the back, he noticed a man wearing a balaclava standing by the desk. His father shook as he moved the contents of the register into a bag. He looked up and caught eyes with his son. Then, the robber hit him over the head and ran towards the back entrance.


Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

After that incident, his father’s perspective changed. Mike realized that he wanted to be a police officer to help people. And his father encouraged him every step of the way. He supported Mike through the academy and made sure to always remind him of the bigger picture when he began to question his choices. Eventually, Mike made it through the academy and became a well-known local officer. But not everyone could have a happy ending like him.



Columbia Room

Spencer never thought he would ever settle down. In his youth, he only worked hard to play hard. In the blink of an eye, his Friday became Monday. His pockets were always empty, but his time was full of laughter and company. He didn’t care how hungover he felt or how late he was for work. However, as he got older, he began to notice the truth.



When Spencer wasn’t buying the drinks, he wasn’t popular. When his paycheck was late from work, his friends insisted they reschedule their plans. When his mother passed away, none of them attended her funeral. It was then he realized that he needed more in life. But he never thought he would end up like this.



When Spencer met Ashley, she refused to let him buy her a drink. He was intrigued, then became obsessed with her smile. His previous friends had never objected to him paying before. Was she a millionaire? Was she married? Turned out, she was just an independent woman. She didn’t need a man to lavish her with goods. He knew then and there that she was special. And he worked hard to get even a moment of her time. But his bubble was about to pop.


Multilingual Living

Spencer believed he was the luckiest man in the world. He never understood how he managed to convince Ashley to marry him, but somehow he did. And as the years passed, their family grew from two to five. He was overwhelmed with happiness. He never had to look anywhere or any place besides his home to feel whole. He thought he had his fairytale ending. But fate had a different idea.



YouTube/WDEF News 12

When Ashley passed away six months after being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, Spencer’s world was turned upside down. All he wanted to do was curl up in a ball and stay in bed every day. But his four kids needed him. His job, however, didn’t. He was given a choice—come back to work full-time or quit. Spencer had lost too much already. He refused to let his children grieve alone. But there were certain aspects of being unemployed that he forgot.

Hard Times


After a few months to grieve with his family, Spencer was ready to get back to work. But to his dismay, he couldn’t find a job anywhere. He began taking up labor work here and there to make ends meet, but they were burning through their savings. Eventually, he found himself struggling to feed his children. But he never expected a police officer to do this.


Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

When Officer Mike noticed Spencer counting the coins in his hands as his children complained about their hunger, he was saddened. “I’m looking down at the little girl, and the young kids looking up to her dad, and I look in the [shopping cart.] It’s just ramen noodles. I don’t know if it’s a financial thing, or if the card just didn’t work.” Mike later shared. He worked with all types of people and picked up enough skills to know when someone was uncomfortable. Spencer looked from the total to the ball of change in his hand. Then, Mike did the unthinkable.


YouTube/WDEF News 12

Mike reached into his own pocket and handed fifty dollars to the cashier. “I’ve got this,” he smiled at Spencer. “Maybe your dad can take you out for some ice-cream later too?” The young children jumped up and down in glee. Spencer’s hand shook as he placed the packages into his bag. What was going on?



CBS News

Spencer was touched by Mike’s kind gesture. He just about got “thank you” out before he had to clear his throat. He was choking up, and Mike didn’t want his kids to see him cry. He reached into his pocket and handed them three one-dollar coins before pointing at the arcade game a few meters away. As they ran off, tears fell from their father’s eyes. Why had the police officer been so kind?


Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

Mike later explained that he couldn’t stand back and watch them struggle. “I just felt God telling me, saying, ‘Just go help him.’ [I’m] getting extra money to be there and I’m just like, are these people going to go hungry when I’m just sitting here making a little extra money for myself?” Mike’s gesture was from the goodness of his heart, but there were others there to witness and share what had happened. Understandably, news of what happened spread across Cleveland overnight.


Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

Jermain Bowe was waiting by the checkout to pay for his goods when he witnessed the entire thing! Touched by the kind gesture, he knew he had to tell the world. “Just witnessed another extraordinary act by our men and women in uniform. A police officer paid for the groceries of a customer here at Walmart. The best part, the customer told the police officer ‘God bless you,’ and the police officer responded, ‘I am already blessed.’ I love it.” But the story didn’t end there.


Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

When news spread of Mike’s kind gesture, media outlets across the country were on the hunt for his last name. When they eventually found it, they all fought for an interview with the hero. But Mike didn’t do it for the fame or the glory. His actions came from the kindness of his heart. His role as a policeman wasn’t just to protect the community, but to also serve. And his response to the attention was heart-warming.



Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

Mike was far too familiar with the struggles of parents. He had seen women, men, and children queue for hours for a bed in homeless shelters. He had been called to chastise mothers who stole loaves of bread to feed their hungry kids. He had heard the stories of children asking their mothers to make extra sandwiches for their hungry friends at school. Mike always did his best to help any struggling parent. How could he ever say no to someone in need?


Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

Mike was humble to all the news outlets requesting an interview. His response to the online support was simple. “Look for somebody to help. There’s someone around all the time to help, maybe just food but maybe something else, maybe just go up and talk to them.” Mike encouraged. But how did the internet respond to his act of kindness?


Facebook/Cleveland TN Police Department

Understandably, Mike’s story spread worldwide. His outlook has been praised by the online community. And most importantly, his message has hit home for many. Everyone knows of someone struggling. It may be impossible to support them financially, but a little help every now and again goes a long way. And a kind gesture is never forgotten. What goes around comes back around. But would Mike be so lucky to receive good karma in return?