BALTIMORE, Md. — A Maryland police officer’s photograph of a teenage boy praying over a homeless man as he slept on the sidewalk has gone viral.
Eric Gaines, a police officer at the University of Maryland, snapped the photograph in Baltimore on March 1, and posted it on Facebook.
“I watched as this young kid was walking past, stopped and walked over to this sleeping homeless man, touched him and began praying over him,” Gaines wrote. “This was an amazing sight! I pray this kid becomes a leader amongst his peers and continues on this path! Not all Baltimore youth are lost!”
The photograph shows a young African American male kneeling on the sidewalk, head bowed as he lays his hand on the homeless man’s shoe.
Gaines told the Baltimore Sun that the boy went on to board a bus following the prayer and went on his way.
“He didn’t do it for any accolades or any praise,” he stated. “I didn’t get a chance to say anything. I wanted to say something to him, but it was just as if he did what he had to do and left.”
The officer said that he was blessed by the teen’s act of kindness and wanted to share it with others. Last year, Baltimore had been in headlines nationwide as violent riots broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray.
“It was good to see a young black man, especially in this community, doing something positive,” Gaines explained. “That’s why I took the picture. It was powerful on so many levels, and for it to be in my presence—it was crazy.”
The identity of the boy is not yet known, but Gaines said he would like to meet him. He said that he hopes that the teen sees the photo and knows that he has touched many lives through his example.
As of press time, the photo has been shared over 36,000 times.
As previously reported, last month, a South Carolina sheriff’s office released a video sharing the story of a formerly drug addicted homeless man whose life was transformed after a police officer took the time to talk to him and gift a copy of the Bible.
The video by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office featured footage of a phone call from Robert Morris, whose life was touched in 2014 after Deputy Matt Holman found him walking the streets alone and soaking wet.
He explained that he had been living in a tent after becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, and after he was flooded out, he began walking the streets. Deputy Matt Holman saw Morris out walking at 2 a.m. and stopped to talk. The two went to a nearby church, where Morris shared his life story.
“He had lost his mom and dad. He had lost his sister,” Holman recalled. “After losing his sister, he got addicted to drugs and alcohol.”
Morris said that his addiction harmed his relationship with his two remaining siblings.
During the discussion, Holman asked Morris what his needs were, and Morris said that he would like a Bible.
Holman stood for a moment contemplating what to do as all he could find in the trunk was his own personal Bible. The deputy ended up giving Morris his Bible and bought him a meal.
Six months later, Holman received a call from Morris, who wanted to say thank you and let him know how much his life had changed since that night.
“He said, ‘Officer, you don’t understand. Because of what you’d done, I checked myself back into mental health, I was able to get regulated with my medication [and] I reconciled my relationship with my brother [and] my sister,” Holman remembered, adding that Morris was also no longer homeless.
“Because of what you had done that night,” Morris said, “that saved my life.”