TEMECULA, Calif. - A Temecula police officer's act of kindness, buying a homeless woman a pair of shoes is being applauded by Facebook users around the world.
On Sunday Temecula police officer Bruce Pierson was called to a scene outside the Promenade Mall off Winchester Road. A homeless woman was being questioned after she was seen acting suspicious near parked cars.
She explained to Pierson that she was just moving from car to car to find shade. She also lifted her feet to show she was barefoot and said she had not worn a pair of shoes in two months. Pierson described her feet as calloused and covered in dirt. That's when he decided to walk her to the Payless ShoeSource store inside the mall to buy her a pair of shoes of her choice.
As he spoke with the homeless woman, he learned that she goes by "Franki" and is 18 years old. She has been homeless since she was 12 and miscarried a baby last year. She is currently living on the streets with her boyfriend and two dogs, he said.
While Franki looked for a pair of shoes she liked, a shopper approached Pierson and said she would like to buy Franki a pair of shoes as well. Another shopper, Joshuah Rounds, also approached Pierson and offered cash to help pay for the shoes. In the end Franki walked away with two pairs of shoes, some socks, a scarf and a beanie. Pierson said the 18-year-old became extremely emotional and cried during the process.
Pierson told his wife what he was in the process of doing, and she bought two large bags of dog food, several sweaters and a blanket for Franki. Pierson also put Franki in touch with Project Touch, an organization aimed at ending homelessness.
Rounds snapped a couple of photos of Pierson in the shoe store and posted it on his Facebook page where it went viral. In a matter of 48 hours, it had been shared more than 100,000 times and has reached viewers as far away as Turkey.
Pierson was not aware the photos had been posted and was surprised the next morning to find friends and family on the East Coast telling him they saw his story online.
The Temecula officer said he hopes anyone would be willing to do the right thing by helping out someone in need. Pierson also pointed out that this is nothing new for his fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement. He said many people have a negative view of law enforcement officers, but what they do not see is the way many of officers serve their communities each and every day on the job.