LaVonte Dell (left), Dell’s car (right)
A Michigan man was rolling down the road when he saw a police officer pull up behind him. The driver noticed the officer acting odd as he talked to him about his window tint being too dark, looking around inside his car from where he was standing. Then, the officer stopped and told the driver to follow him down the road.
LaVonte Dell had a feeling he was being stopped for his illegal tint, and he was right, but there was something else that Westland Police Officer Joshua Scaglione noticed as he started talking to him about the ticket. Appearing a little upset as they spoke, Dell said he noticed the cop getting choked up, and he wasn’t sure what about this seemingly routine stop on April 18 had moved him to tears.
According to WXYZ, Dell was particularly nervous about being pulled over because his 3-year-old daughter was in the backseat, and he didn’t want to deal with any trouble that day. She was also not in a car seat, which Scaglione noticed while discussing the tint issue. More expensive than a visibility ticket is a child endangerment charge for driving with your kid not securely fastened. However, seeing her sitting there brought tears to the cop’s eyes as he asked her father about it.
“I asked him why is she back there without a car seat,” Scaglione told the news station. “It’s not safe. He teared up a bit and told me he was going through some tough times.” This meant something specific to the officer, who immediately saw himself in the driver’s eyes, having suffered the same financial despair.
“I related to the fact that I’ve been in that situation before,” Scaglione explained. Rather than writing a ticket for any of it, the cop asked the father to follow him. The two drove to Walmart where they walked the aisles of the store together.
“You would have thought we were best friends,” Dell recalled about the surprise shopping trip. “No awkward silence. I learned about him. He learned about me.”
Scaglione with Dell and his daughter
Scaglione told Dell to pick out the perfect car seat for his daughter and that he would pay for it. “I realized this was the perfect opportunity to help him,” the officer said of the moment he chose to help this man, rather than making his situation in life worse with several tickets he could have issued that day. “Dell seems like a blue collar hard working guy who was doing the best he could for his family,” Scaglione said.
The father couldn’t believe the generosity being shown to him, and he thanked his new friend in blue for the help he so desperately needed. Dell took to social media to praise what this kindhearted, white cop did for a black man in need, who didn’t judge him like he had expected. ” … Don’t judge a book by its cover. You’d be surprised what comes of it,” he wrote, urging others to not be so quick to claim all cops are bad.
Officer Scaglione didn’t see skin color, he saw a need as well as himself in a sad circumstance he could personally relate to. Rather than keeping those thoughts inside and issuing a ticket, as he was within the right to do, he chose to make it better, which is all officers hope for when they put their badge on each day.
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