An officer and gentleman, indeed.
A photo of an police officer paying for a hotel room for a homeless woman he found sleeping in a shed has gone viral.
When Officer John-Paul Dorais of the Meriden Police Department in Connecticut happened upon a homeless woman sleeping in a shed on Saturday, he knew he couldn’t just leave her there.
“I sympathized with her,” Dorais told The Huffington Post. “She was well-educated, well-spoken, she was just going through a really difficult time.”
Dorais and his partner, Officer Jeff Witkin, decided to try and find her a place to stay for the night, but were having difficulties finding a shelter that would take her.
“We exhausted all our other options,” Dorais said. “That’s when I turned to Jeff and said ‘What could it really cost us to buy her a motel room?’”
Witkin was touched by Dorais’s idea.
“[Witkin] said, ‘I’ll go half.’ He didn’t even skip beat. So we made it happen,” Dorais said.
Dorais and Witkin brought the woman to a Comfort Inn & Suites, where Dorais says he is familiar with the front desk clerk. Dorais explained the situation to the clerk, who agreed to give the woman a room for the night at a discounted price. As Dorais paid for the room on his credit card, Witkin snapped a photo of his partner.
The photo was posted to the Meriden Police Department’s Facebook page on Sunday and it’s since received over 3,000 likes, more than 700 shares and hundreds of comments praising the officers’ good deed.
"Officer Dorais's act of kindness exemplifies what the men and women of the Meriden Police Department stand for and we are proud of him and all our officers who do these kinds of deeds that are seldom recognized," reads the post.
Dorais, who is not a frequent social media user, wasn’t even aware of all the attention the photo was receiving.
“My sister called me and was like, ‘Did you buy a hotel room for a lady?’ And I was like ‘Yeah.’ And she was like, ‘it’s all over Facebook.’”
The post’s popularity actually surprised Dorais.
“Police officers do tons of great things that people don’t know about all the time,” Dorais said. “I’ve seen officers do bigger and better things than what we did. Really it was small in comparison.”