FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — A field training officer with the Fort Smith Police Department made national headlines for his act of kindness he performed weeks before Christmas.
In November 2019, Officer Kenneth Martin was at the Walmart on Zero Street buying gifts to donate to Toys For Tots when a call came in over his radio about an attempt to shoplift at the same store.
That’s when he went to investigate.
"I just saw and man and a woman and two small children and they had a cart with them with a lot of stuff bagged up in that cart," Martin said.
Martin says his first thought was 'what are they stealing?'
“I try to reserve opinion on people because I’ve been in situations where I’ve been down on my luck," Martin said.
That’s when he learned the couple hadn’t scanned about half the things in their cart, all food items, except one stuffed animal.
Martin says the store decided to pursue charges against the man but not the women.
He then walked over to the customer service desk and offered to pay for the allegedly stolen groceries.
“It was the right thing to do for those kids," Martin said.
The incident witnessed by a fellow police officer earned Martin the title of employee of the month.
“Officer Martin is an awesome guy he’s not just about law enforcement he’s also about making the lives of everyone encounters better," said Sgt. Aric Mitchell with Fort Smith Police Department.
Martin says this isn’t the first time he’s done something like this and it won’t be the last.
He hopes the incident serves as a reminder to the couple and others to treat people with kindness.
“I would like to think that what I did maybe give him a little insight or a little hope that there are people out there that can help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help," Martin said.