MIAMI - She was penniless and desperate to feed her three children.
So Ms Jessica Robles, a Miami mum, went into a supermarket, filled up a trolley with US$300 (S$370) worth of groceries and tried to walk out without paying.
The supermarket called in the police, but officer Vicki Thomas, who arrived on the scene, decided to help her instead.
The officer spent US$100 of her own money to buy Ms Robles groceries.
Officer Thomas said she asked her: "'Why would you do that? What would make you do that?' And she said, 'My children are hungry'."
Instead of arresting her, the officer did a check on her criminal record and found nothing major, the Mail Online reported.
Realising that she was not a habitual offender, she charged her with a minor offence and a notice to appear in court.
Said Officer Thomas: "I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem with her children being hungry."
Said Ms Robles: "She asked: 'Do you even have food at the house?' And I looked at her in her face, and I told her, 'not at all'."
After a local TV station ran the story on Monday, one man even offered Ms Robles a job.
Viewer John Challenor interviewed her on Tuesday for a job with a company that installs business phone lines.
She was offered a customer service representative position on the spot.
Meanwhile, others stepped up to help Ms Robles. She returned to the same supermarket, but this time it was with some members of the community who raised US$700 for her to spend at the store. She even got to keep the change.
Officer Thomas said she left the family with one request: "The only thing I asked of her is when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out. And she said she would."
Meanwhile, Ms Robles thanked the Good Samaritans. She said as she fought back tears: "I'm grateful that you took the time and helped somebody out, especially somebody like me."
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