MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Caught on camera, a Mesa Police officer gave a pair of his own shoes to a homeless man. The officer was out on patrol and didn't know anyone was watching.
But someone snapped photos of the exchange, and those pictures have gone viral.
Officer Green is an ultra marathoner who keeps his old running shoes in the back of his car. When he recently gave a pair to a homeless man, an onlooker captured the gesture on camera. Those images have gone viral reminding us how first responders often go above and beyond.
Mesa Police Officer Kent Green keeps dozens of sneakers at work. They're his shoes, but he doesn't wear them. He gives them to those in need.
"I'd seen people barefoot in the summer, I'd seen people with socks with you know toes sticking out of their shoes," said Officer Kent Green.
Green is an ultra marathoner. His shoes are good long after the race, but he keeps them in his patrol car to hand out to anyone who needs them.
"They're completely wearable, and still lots of life especially in the summer heat," he said.
Unbeknownst to Green, an onlooker, snapped photos of the exchange. When she posted them to Facebook, the pics went viral. The comments were overwhelmingly good.
"Some people say hey I usually don't say good things about officers, I don't like officers, but they followed it up with, but this was really cool, or this really made me think," said Green.
Green has given out 20 pairs of running shoes, and since the photo went viral, he's had more donations than his police car can handle.
"Empathy is free, easy, and colorblind. We all have it, it's just not always displayed, it's not always in the spotlight," said Green.
Officer Green says his colleagues help out in other valuable ways, like giving out hygiene kits or even groceries. If you'd like to share your old running shoes, most local running shops have donation boxes. Officer Green says you can also just give your shoes directly to someone in need, just like he does on his patrols.