A heartwarming holiday story unfolded when a Massachusetts police officer decided to pay for the groceries of two women in need who were allegedly shop lifting.
Somerset Police Officer Matt Lima responded to a call at a Stop and Shop grocery store where security officers said two women who were with two small children had not paid for everything in their bags, NBC affiliate WJAR reports.
Instead of charging the women for shop lifting, Officer Lima decided to purchase a $250 gift card with his own money to pay for the groceries.
"The allegation was the two females were scanning some items at self-checkout but bypassing other items and bagging those items," explained Lima.
"Dispatch indicated it was two females and two young small children and they were detained by Loss and Prevention over there," he continued.
Lima added that when he saw the small children with the women he was struck with empathy.
"I have two girls myself, similar in age to the two girls that were there, so it kind of struck me a little bit."
One of the shoplifters told Officer Lima that while she was working, the mother of the children was not and had other family issues going on at the time. She also said that everything they had taken was for Christmas dinner for the children.
Lima checked the items they were planning to steal with a Stop and Shop loss prevention employee.
"There was nothing else on there like health and beauty items, shampoo, anything like that. It was all food," he said.
Officer Lima explained why he decided not to charge the women.
"Obviously, this family was in need and I can't imagine having to make the decision to go to Stop and Shop and just only pay for what I can afford -- or do I go there and try to take things for Christmas dinner for the kids?"
"They were very thankful, they were kind of shocked. I'm sure a lot of people in that same situation would be thinking that there was going to be a different outcome, and maybe they would be arrested or have to go to court," he said.