We all have a tendency to judge others quickly, and we’ve all undoubtedly made assumptions about others that weren’t accurate. But as one police officer recently pointed out, until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you can never truly understand what they’re going through.
Police officer Andre Owen was having a difficult morning one previous summer. The Sussex Police staff started working just after seven in the morning. when he received a serious call to work in Brighton. Then, with a single team and no assistance, he had to make a continuous trip to Oxford for the same work. He was having such a difficult day and almost did not get to have time to eat.
At lunchtime, he finally had an opportunity to get food in his system so he went to the nearest Burger King to buy himself lunch. The policeman was calmly waiting for his food to come just like every other customer there. At that precise time, a woman made the decision to approach him and remark, “whilst you’re in here stuffing your face, there are criminals that need catching out there.”
Police Constable Owen did not agree with what the woman had to say. He needed to hear those words from her even if he was hungry and exhausted. The man decided to leave it at that even though he was not in a good mood following the encounter and carried his lunch to the police car. He did not make any retort or answered back to the woman who easily judged a man in uniform only trying to get his lunch.
Instead, Owen turned to Twitter to tell his experience after being shocked by the woman’s response to him taking a break to eat after spending what seemed like endless hours helping others.
Including a picture of the fast food restaurant’s dish, the 25-year-old officer tweeted, “To the lady that scorned me for buying food on duty, I’ve not stopped since 07:05 this morning, not even for [a] toilet break. I’m over 100 miles from my station and I’m due off in 45 mins…. with a two-hour journey at least!!!! #policearehumantoo.”
The post quickly gained thousands of likes and shares, gaining Owen, a five-year Sussex Police employee, more recognition than he could have ever anticipated.
In an interview with Mirror, the officer shared more information about the shaming he received from someone who did not even know who he was. He said that before the woman called him out, he explained that he’d had an incredibly busy day. He was hungry, exhausted, and prepared to conclude his shift at 3 o’clock that day at 2 p.m. Unfortunately, he still had a hundred miles to go before reaching the station and before he could go home, a stack of paperwork awaited him to be completed.
“Five minutes after starting my shift, I was assigned to a serious job in Brighton. I dealt with that and then had to drive nonstop to Oxford as part of the same job, single crewed. Half an hour into the return journey, I stopped at a service station for my first toilet stop of the day! While there, I also got a double whopper meal, apple pie, Coke and a cappuccino,” he said.
Naturally, the moment the stranger saw the officer in uniform, she decided to infer what was going on. Owen recalled, “A lady, eating her own food, kept staring at me while I waited, I collected the food and as I left she said something similar to ‘while you’re in here stuffing your face, there’s criminals that need catching out there,’ I smiled, and just walked away without saying a word.”
Owen clarified, adding that the tweet wasn’t meant to elicit pity but rather to expose the public to the challenging realities of his line of work. Furthermore, the unpleasant experience was not the end of his hard day. “I put it on Twitter and the tweet gathered so much momentum with such positive support.”
“I then waited for recovery to pick them up, using my blue lights to provide protection to all around. It added another hour onto my already long day,” Owen explained. He finally finished his shift at 7 pm. Owen passed a wrecked car on his way back to the station. He stopped and helped, stopping traffic and bringing a couple and their children to safety despite the fact that it was beyond the end of his shift.
PC Andre Owen said, “While it’s long, and the lady annoyed me at the time, I love my job and on the whole, wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The majority of police officers do, in fact, enjoy their work, despite the lengthy and unappreciated hours. Without a question, they need that affection to help them cope with the responsibilities they must meet.
It is sad that people have such short memories and don’t even take the time to get to know the person they are trying to discredit. However, he did want the public to know that, as he mentioned, officers are humans too. This police officer knew better than to retaliate and embarrass the woman at that very moment.