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SAN DIEGO — Photos capturing a heartwarming interaction between a young girl and California Highway Patrol officers in San Diego have been shared hundreds of times on social media.

One of those officers shared his perspective about the sweet, simple exchange during a time of tension.

On June 1, the girl and her father were on a walk in the East Village when they approached dozens of CHP officers guarding a freeway onramp.

“She came around with a smile and I took the opportunity to reach in my pocket,” Officer Mitchell Byrd told FOX 5 on Monday. “I had some stickers on me and I said, ‘hey, do you want a sticker?’ Her dad, just before that, had told us she wants to be a police officer.”

A woman passing through took the photos, and they speak a thousand words about compassion and common decency.

“She was just so comfortable in that moment and it made us comfortable to be there in that moment as well,” Byrd said. “It was really humbling to be a part of that.”

Byrd said he and the other officers there welcomed the visit, while the girl’s father snapped photos of his own.

Underneath all of the gear, the helmets and the masks, the moment showed what happens when people put their shared humanity first, before anything else.

“It was just a good chance to be out there for the community, to know that they could always come up to us,” Byrd said. “I think it made everybody that was standing there really happy that day. I was just the lucky one that got the high five.”