Video: NJ trooper buys meal for couple in need

After finding out about the panhandler's situation, Trooper Sean Wallace decided to take it upon himself to buy the man and his wife a meal

By Barbara Boyer
The Philadelphia Inquirer

HAINESPORT, N.J. — Saturday evening, a New Jersey State Police trooper was on patrol when he was called about a panhandler outside a food store in Hainesport Township.

When Trooper Sean Wallace arrived about 9:30 p.m., the store manager expressed concern about the man outside who had been asking customers for money. Earlier in the day, the manager explained, he had asked the man to leave.

A two-minute police video, posted on the state police Facebook page, tells the rest of the story:

"What's going on?" the trooper asks the unidentified man.

The man says he needs money to buy a rotisserie chicken for him and his wife. "That's my only problem," he says.

He and his wife had not eaten since using the last of their money for breakfast at Burger King, he adds.

The trooper asks him to take a seat in his cruiser and then goes back inside the store. Soon, the trooper returns to the car with a chicken he purchased, telling the man, "C'mon, let's go."

Loitering and panhandling are not allowed, Wallace tells the man, urging him to go home with the food and warning him not to return to panhandle, or "It's going to be different, all right?"

The man agrees, turning briefly toward police, "Thanks guys."

The Facebook post notes that the trooper, with less than two years on the force, "handled this situation like a 20-year veteran with a heart of gold."

Trooper Wallace was not available for an interview Wednesday, and it was unclear whose camera captured his encounter with the man soliciting outside the food store.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 80,000 times and shared more than 700 times.

The hundreds of comments on the post include these: "Love and support from one man to another" and "God bless that Trooper. He showed the core values of the New Jersey State Police which is Honor Duty and Fidelity."

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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