-- A Maryland police officer says he is “surprised” and “appreciative” of the thousands of likes and comments that have come his way after his supervisor posted photos on Facebook of his good deed.
“I was able to get in touch with a social worker so I left her to talk with the social worker,” Atkinson told ABC News. “I had to go out on calls and when I came back that afternoon she was gone so I assumed she’d found the right help.”
Atkinson says when he came back to work the next morning, Thursday, the woman was again in the station’s lobby, sleeping with her baby wrapped in a blanket.
“I went out and said, ‘How long have you been here?,’ and she said, ‘All night,’” Atkinson recalled. “She told me she was supposed to do a follow up with social services that day but didn’t have anywhere to go the night before so slept at the station.”
When the woman told Atkinson that family members would not be coming to get her and her baby until the next day, Friday, the police officer decided to take action.
“I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to set you up for tonight so you and your baby don’t have to sleep on the street,’” Atkinson told ABC News. “I asked my supervisor if it was okay to transport her and her baby, found a nice place that was nearby and dropped her off.”
Atkinson paid for the nearby hotel room for the woman out of his own pocket, and also made sure she would be able to get food at the hotel.
“I had the extra funds so it wasn’t hurting me anything,” Atkinson said. “I could tell they had been bouncing around from place to place and had been out there for a while so I figured, whatever happens, one night they’ll get some kind of safe environment, especially for the child.”
Atkinson’s supervisor at the police department took what appear to be surveillance photos of Atkinson loading the mom and baby’s things into his patrol car and posted the photos on Facebook.
The post has been liked more than 17,000 times and drawn attention to Atkinson for what he says was just a normal day on the job.
“I had no idea my supervisor did that,” Atkinson said. “I’m very appreciative for all the people who wrote all the kind and positive words.”
“I feel like I am no different than any other officer,” he said. “Officers across the country, we do this every day and it’s not necessarily going in our pockets for money or giving out food, which is done, but they do extraordinary things on an everyday basis.”
“I know plenty of officers who make what I did look small on a daily basis."