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Viral photo of ‘inspirational’ Alabama Trooper feeding homeless man will restore your faith in humanity

Alabama State Trooper Justin O'Neal buys homeless man meal at McDonald's in Bessemer, and the photo goes viral. (Photo: Jenny Gilmore Reed)
Alabama State Trooper Justin O’Neal buys homeless man meal at McDonald’s in Bessemer, and the photo goes viral. (Photo: Jenny Gilmore Reed Facebook photo)

BESSEMER, Ala. – An Alabama State Trooper was hailed a “hero” by a woman who witnessed him buying a meal for a homeless man. The act of kindness moved her to then share a photo of the cop’s act to social media, with the image quickly going viral.

Alabama resident Jenny Reed was sitting in the McDonald’s drive-thru on Morgan Road in Bessemer when she witnessed a cop humbly helping someone in the community in an unexpected way.

“He was in front of me, he ordered his food, he pulled over to a parking spot,” said Reed. But then what seemed like a relatively normal occurrence turned into a surprising, heartwarming happening. “I noticed him get out of the car, walk around to the back holding food and a drink and open his back passenger door and a homeless man got out with bags of stuff,” Reed said.

Reed said watching the trooper help the homeless man moved her to tears. Being so moved by the scene, Reed said she posted it to social media because she though this kind of interaction needs to be witnessed by others.

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I am in tears right now. I ran through the McDonald's drive thru on Morgan Road. This state trooper was in front of me….

Posted by Jenny Gilmore Reed on Friday, October 16, 2015

The photo was shared on social media, with the Facebook photo earning over 1,000 shares. The picture is a heartwarming reminder that, despite media depictions to the contrary, the job of law enforcement officer means much more than simply writing tickets and arresting criminals, it’s being an integral part of the community.

“I pulled over and told him he was an inspiration and a hero,” said Reed.

But for Trooper Justin O’Neal, it was just another day. He first saw the man walking along Interstate 59. The man was walking his way to North Carolina and hadn’t eaten in days when O’Neal picked him up.

“He said he was hungry, I asked him when the last time he had eaten and he told me about 3 days ago,” O’Neal said. “I hate to see anyone go hungry, so I pulled into the McDonalds and asked him what he wanted and he wanted a quarter pounder with cheese combo meal.”

While this kind act seems to go beyond the call of duty, Trooper O’Neal believes that he was just doing “the right thing.”

“As a trooper, our main job is to save lives and protect property, but as a Christian and as a human being, that’s just the right thing to do,” said O’Neal.

(H/T ABC33/40)



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