Police officers assigned to a specific area quickly learn the names and faces of the local characters. Their job is to look out for the well-being and morale of the community, just as much as it is to fight crime.
With that in mind, officers in the New York Police Department (NYPD) at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island went out of their way to make the day special for one woman.
A homeless woman, identified only as Lisa, was a frequent visitor at the St. George Ferry terminal.
Lisa is a fixture at the terminal, using it as a shelter for a number of years. Naturally, officers in the area have gotten to know her, and like to make sure she is getting along alright.
One of those officers is Leron Lee, an NYPD veteran who has developed a relationship with Lisa over years of countless encounters.
“The lady in question, Lisa, she is a regular at the ferry terminal, a homeless lady, and she’s been there as long as I’ve been here,” Lee said to the NY Post. “I’ve been here for seven years, and we have a bit of a rapport back and forth.”
On the morning of June 21, Lee saw Lisa sitting on the steps of the terminal. He remembered it was her birthday, and asked her what she wanted.
‘A cheeseburger, some French fries and a Dr. Pepper,’ Lisa said of her birthday wish.
Lee didn’t hesitate to purchase the meal. His fellow officers, unaware that he was buying the food for Lisa, teased him playfully for cheating on his diet.
But when they found out who the food was intended for, they chipped in and made her birthday celebration as special as possible.
“My co-workers saw me bringing the food and they started to razz me because they thought the food was for me. I’m on a bit of a diet,” Lee said.
“So I told them it’s for Lisa. So we all walked over to Lisa and started singing ‘Happy Birthday,’ and that’s how it came about.”
The video of the officers singing to Lisa was captured by a woman named Mandie Dee, who later posted the video on her Facebook. She was touched by the officers’ act of kindness, and the video has been shared more than 29,000 times.
“It’s important to remember that a simple act of kindness can go a long way, even if it’s as little as giving someone a meal, it can make that one person feel like they truly matter and make them feel loved,” Dee said in her Facebook post.
Lee didn’t do it for attention, but hopes others show more compassion for the homeless.
“A little embarrassed,” Lee said to ABC7NY. “I didn’t do it for the positive feedback I got. I just did it to show someone gratitude on their birthday.”
Lee insists he didn’t do anything special, and said officers frequently do nice things for the terminal’s resident homeless population.
“I was just trying to brighten up her birthday a little bit, for someone who really doesn’t have maybe family.”
NYPD at Staten Island ferry celebrating a homeless woman’s birthday by buying her a meal and singing her happy birthday. ⚫️🔵⚫️🔵⚫️Share and spread the love- not the hate. #NYPD #statenisland #Ferry #blueline #police #peaceandlove #newyork****I just want to Thank you all for sharing this video and liking it. It’s important to remember that a simple act of kindness can go a Long way, even if it’s as little as giving someone a meal, it can make that one person feel like they truly matter and make them feel loved. And of course a special thanks to these nypd officers who took a few moments of their time to perform this small, but loving, act. It’s a good reminder to our community that our officers truly do care about the public they serve every day. ⚫️🔵⚫️
Posted by Mandie Dee on Thursday, June 21, 2018