(WABC/CNN) — A woman accused of shoplifting at a New York City grocery store this week got quite a surprise from responding officers.
Instead of arresting her, the three police officers decided to pay for her groceries.
The woman had been held at the door, accused of trying to steal food.
“We approached her. I asked her what’s going on,” Lt. Louis Sojo said. “She told me she was hungry.”
“We looked in her bag and we didn’t see what we saw was containers of food,” Officer Esnaidy Cuevas said. “We didn’t see anything anything else. It was just a necessity food.”
But instead of arresting her, they paid around $35 of their own money for her food.
“When you look at someone’s face and you notice that — that they need you and they’re actually hungry you know? It’s pretty difficult as a human being to walk away from something like that,” Sojo said. “You know we weren’t raised like that you know. So it’s the right thing to do.”
Inside the store, a few feet away, a man named Paul Bozymowski snapped this picture of her reaction — an image that went viral.
“It was a really nice moment for people,” he said. “It was compassionate and the woman obviously was really really grateful.”
“She did thank us,” Sojo said. “But she was pretty much speechless.”
Even the Chief of the Department took to Twitter about the heartwarming moment.
“I’m extremely humbled by this,” Sojo said. “But we do not do it for the attention.”
The lieutenant says the woman never gave her information and it’s unclear where she is living.