A photo of a Georgia officer comforting a 16-month-old boy at a hospital in the Savannah, Georgia, area has garnered the policeman praise and national attention.
Officer James Hurst of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department was called to escort the toddler to a hospital after he was found outside without adult supervision, according to a news release.
The child became distraught during a medical exam, prompting Hurst — who remained by his side — to pick him up and comfort the little boy.
“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.”
The tender moment was captured on camera and shared on the department’s Facebook page.
The picture, posted Monday, quickly went viral, having been shared more than 1,600 times and liked over 4,000 times by Friday morning. Multiple news outlets around the country have picked up the story, while many social media commenters offered praise for Hurst’s actions.
“Out of the countless times I have seen Officer Hurst out on the streets, every single time he has gone above and beyond his line of duty,” wrote Facebook user Sara Kraai. “If any of you get the opportunity to meet him please shake his hand, he’s … a deserving soul.”
For his part, Hurst said he was just doing his job, and wasn’t expecting the incident to attract widespread attention.