A photo of a cop holding a distressed toddler goes viral for all the right reasons.

It’s not only about training; it might also be about being human.

Every day, police officers all across the world leave their homes and families to protect and serve the citizens of their towns. Although it is their sworn duty to help others, the job requires far more than simply playing «cops and robbers.» Police personnel are responsible for promoting public safety, educating the public, and enforcing the law.

Officer James Hurst of Savannah, Georgia, was just doing his job when he found himself in a circumstance where his fatherly instincts took over, rather than his cop instincts. Hurst is the father of two sons, one of whom has Down syndrome, so he understands what it’s like to be small and powerless in a big, scary world.

Hurst had only been on the job for about a year when he received a call about a youngster wandering the busy streets of Savannah. Because his caregivers were nowhere to be found, the 16-month-old was naturally upset.

Hurst quickly picked up the young boy and drove him to the Emergency Room at Memorial University Medical Center. Following that, the concerned officer remained at the boy’s side as staff members inspected him. Despite the fact that he was unhurt, the infant became terrified and began crying and shrieking uncontrollably.

The police glanced about, but no one was around to console the distressed toddler. So he did what any decent father would do in the same situation: he took up the screaming boy and held him tightly to his chest. The toddler’s cries quickly changed from sobs to whimpers, and he was soon nestled gently against the rigid body armor hidden behind the officer’s outfit.

«Obviously, the boy, being so small, became very upset.» He was sobbing. He was in tears. Officer Hurst added, «I asked the hospital staff if I could hold him to comfort and soothe him a little bit in order to try to calm him down and continue getting medical care, and they said that was fine.»

So I picked him up. Minutes later, I was standing and he was asleep on my chest, and with all my body armor and my gun belt, became very heavy holding this small child. So that’s when I decided to sit down on the bed and make it easier for him and me.”

After the Savannah Police Department shared the photo of Officer Hurst comforting the little boy on their social media pages, the image quickly went viral online. Everyone who saw the image praised Hurst’s compassion, yet for him, it was all in a day’s work.

“I just knew this child needed somebody to be there for him,” the officer said. “It was just human instinct; humanity. The hospital staff was taking great care of him [but] he was sobbing and crying. I picked him up and within minutes, he was asleep on my chest.”

This is just another example of the kind of humanity the world needs more of! Thank you, Officer Hurst, not just for your service, but for leading by example.

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