CPD officer responding to 'suspicious persons' call gets homeless man new shoes
What started off as a suspicious persons call near a local shoe store in Hixson last Friday ended in a random act of kindness for the man in-question with help from store employees and a responding Chattanooga Police officer.
"That's what we do--we help people," a shoe store employee Emilee Wisecup told Channel 3.
She says for the average shoe store employee, most of the day is spent helping customers find the right shoe. But associates at Elliot's Boots, Shoes and Sandals took "helping" a step further by giving a man who appeared to be homeless a new pair of shoes--for free.
"He was actually sitting outside of our garage door over there without a shirt," Wisecup recalled.
Sgt. Jason Wood says in his 15 years in law enforcement, he's responded to hundreds of suspicious persons calls, but this one was different.
"Once I spoke to him, he explained he was there trying to rest, to get out of the sun. It was extremely hot that day," he explained.
Wood says not far into his initial conversation with the man, he noticed his shoes were falling apart--so he offered to buy him a pair.
"I looked down at his shoes and I'm like, 'I don't think he's gonna make it out of the parking lot with the shoes he's got on'," Wood told Channel 3. "I went inside Elliot's and asked them what their least expensive pair of shoes were. I explained to them I wanted to get this individual a pair of shoes and he'd be on his way."
That's when store employees told Wood they would pay for the shoes out of their own pockets. The shoes retailed for about $50.00 but employees say helping was priceless.
"Officer Wood, he offered to give us money, but we just wanted to help and didn't want to accept it," Wisecup said.
Both she and Wood say it was an experience they won't forget and a reminder of why paying it forward is so important.
"It makes me feel good knowing that he has a pair of shoes he can walk in and a shirt on his back," she said.
"Just looking at the guy you could tell it meant the world to him. I don't know if anyone had ever been genuinely kind to him before," Wood added.
Another officer who was on-scene, Investigator Collins, also bought the man a meal and drink from a store nearby.
Chattanooga Police shared the post that received several hundred likes and shares on social media earlier this week.