Police officers in the US city of Baltimore are used to seeing the worst side of humanity, so it was no surprise that when Officer Eric Gaines witnessed a teenage boy crouching down next to a sleeping homeless man, he thought something sinister was going on.
The officer was doing his usual patrol of the area he looks after and noticed someone getting a little too close to a homeless person sleeping on the footpath. “I originally thought he was patting him down to steal something and so I was ready to jump into action, but once I saw him bow his head, I realised what was actually going on,” Gaines, 35, told TODAY.com.
This was quite a surprise to the officer as he’d seen people give food and money to the homeless, but never seen someone take the time to pray with them.
The teenage boy and his friends had passed by the homeless man while walking towards a bus stop. While his friends continued on, he knelt down next to the man and spent 5 minutes praying with him.
“I couldn’t believe what was going on in front of me,” Gaines said. “I’ve never seen something so powerful before.”
The boy was so in depth in his prayer that he didn’t notice when his bus arrived. Thankfully the bus driver also saw what was going on and waited about 30 seconds for the boy to finish his prayer.
“I wanted to tell him how moving that moment was for me, but he vanished before I had a chance to go over to him,” the officer said. “I feel blessed to have witnessed such a selfless action.”
Not only did this boy’s prayer inspire the police officer, it’s now inspiring people worldwide. The photo Eric captured and posted on Facebook has now been shared over 35,000 times.
Photo via: Facebook – Eric Gaines