Photo of police officer comforting scared child at the hospital goes viral
A Savannah, Georgia police officer recently proved that no matter your profession, once a dad, always a dad. After finding a toddler wandering alone in a high-traffic residential area, he brought him to the emergency room to be evaluated. But his dedication to his job didn’t end there.
In a photo that quickly went viral, we see Officer James Hurst holding the 16-month-old boy while reclining in a hospital bed. The child lays on the officer’s chest, deeply asleep, while Hurst patiently stays, despite wearing heavy body armor. Check out the sweet photo below, from the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Facebook page.
According to Today, Hurst has been an officer for less than a year and is a father of two. He says of his actions that day, “It had nothing to do with the badge. It had to do with being a human being.”
And probably, a parent.
The police officer says he picked up the clearly frightened little boy to comfort him, because he was screaming and crying while being examined at the hospital. The baby quickly fell asleep on his chest and like any good daddy, he went with it. “What kicked at me was really just humanity. A screaming child sitting there getting evaluated by the hospital staff, I felt bad for him. So it was my empathy for him and just trying to be there for him because he had nobody else.”
Hurst, whose own sons are seven and nine, says, “I was trying to soothe him like I did my two boys.” But after holding the 20-pound baby for a little while, he got heavy. And Hurst was clad in about 25 pounds of body armor and equipment. Hence, the bed. And the incredibly sweet photo that resulted from their two hours spent together.
As the praise pours in for the officer from the photo being shared and hospital staff who witnessed the pair, Hurst denies all those calling him a hero. “I didn’t run into a burning building. I was just there for a child.”
Sorry, but no. That is absolutely heroic, sir. From one parent to another, I salute you. And I know I’m not alone.
We don’t know the circumstances that led to this little boy ending up in such a precarious situation, but they hardly matter. As parents, any of us can understand how Hurst must have felt seeing this child terrified and alone, with no one there to hold him. He drew on his instincts to nurture and protect a vulnerable life and gave this baby comfort at a time when he needed it most. He may protest being called a hero for the rest of his days, but we all know better.
If something tragic were to happen to one of my children and I wasn’t available, I’d want to know someone was there for them in their time of need. To reassure them or hug them. To tell them they’re not alone. Thinking of our kids lost or scared might be one of parenting’s worst nightmares, and knowing there are officers like Hurst out there willing to treat our kids as their own is so comforting. His actions were well above and beyond the call of duty and show what kind of police officer he is. And what kind of father.
He says, “It felt great I was able to be there for him. We have 605 officers that would do the same thing.”
And that’s a wonderful thing to hear.