Candid Photo Goes Viral When People See Who Is Sitting on Roadside With Sheriff’s Deputy

May 18, 2019 Updated: May 26, 2019

There’s a story doing the rounds, and we think you might be interested.

A man and his fiancee were sitting in traffic in Washington state. There’s nothing unusual about that. However, upon noticing they were positioned next to a police car, the couple’s interest was piqued. They noticed something eye-catching.

An on-duty sheriff’s deputy appeared to be engaged in some sort of roadside rendezvous with a civilian; the deputy was sitting on a patch of grass under a tree on the side of the road with another man. Upon closer inspection, the couple saw that the deputy was sharing his lunch with a homeless man.

Posted by Pierce County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

“I just couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Darren Ballard Sr., the driver from Tahoma who spotted the cop’s less-than-typical lunch date. Speaking to CBS News, he continued. “I look over and there’s an officer in uniform, sitting on the grass, sitting with a homeless guy sharing a sandwich.”

“I was just blown away.”

Ballard couldn’t resist snapping a candid photo of the heartwarming encounter. He posted it on Facebook with his own account of the scene. “There are good police officers out there people,” he posted, doing his bit to bolster the reputation of Washington’s law enforcement. “This made my day.”

UPDATE: From Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Det. Sgt. Ed Troyer. This picture of our Deputy eating lunch…

Posted by East Pierce Firefighters IAFF Local 3520 on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kindness doesn’t cost a penny, even for an on-duty officer.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the deputy’s lunch buddy is a man by the name of James Haynes. Haynes explained: “Sometimes we talk for hours, sometimes we talk for 10 minutes.” He revealed that he has known the kindly officer for around 12 months, and their friendly lunchtime meet-ups are not unusual.

“He takes time out of his day to talk,” Haynes continued, “and if he gets a call, he’ll run and take it.”

Posted by Pierce County Sheriff's Department on Friday, October 7, 2016

The free food is great, but for Haynes, it’s the conversation that really makes a difference. The deputy is friendly, funny, and always ready with a kind word and a joke, Haynes shared. “He smiles all the time and makes me laugh,” he said. “It’s very depressing out here.”

To date, over 31,000 people have shared Ballard’s original story. Pierce County Sheriff’s Department even got wind of it, and Sergeant Ed Troyer took the time to expound the story behind the viral photo. “Our deputy asked him if he was hungry,” he began. “The man said he was. So the deputy sat down with him and shared his lunch.”

So there you have it. No motive, no complexity, just two men sharing lunch and making small talk.

It happens “quite often,” according to Troyer.

Illustration – Pixabay | iamharsha_

Supportive comments from social media users appeared in their hundreds. “I think this is fabulous,” shared one. “Cops are humans too, just like this fellow that happens to be homeless.”

Responding to the comments, Ballard jumped back in to share his enthusiasm for the attention his post had gathered. “It’s nice for the police,” he intimated, “who handle their job with the utmost passion and respect in the field.” He called the public response to his photo “a break, with some good positive news for a change.”

Illustration – Pixabay | fsHH

A sheriff’s representative told KING 5 News that “Deputy Anonymous” wishes to remain unnamed.

It’s not the first time a cop has been spotted lunching with a homeless person. In March of 2019, The Epoch Times reported on a similar sighting in Jackson, Tennessee.

Ballard’s original photo has become a symbol; the deputy’s desire not to receive any recognition for his good deed gives us faith that people in power are out there doing great things both on and off the clock, all the time.

Now that’s reassuring.