In our troubled times, simple acts of kindness should be valued more than ever. That kindness was on display this month in Illinois, when nine deputies with the McLean County Sheriff’s Department surprised Tyler Shipley, an 18-year-old with autism, on his birthday with presents and desserts.
“Just to see what they’re doing, it was their idea, they remembered his birthday, they came out to give him gifts,” Tyler’s mother, Melissa Shipley, said, according to a report by Central Illinois Proud.com. “It just shows that not every police officer throughout the country are bad.”
Shipley added that the officers have a calming effect on Tyler, who sometimes has violent outbursts.
“He feels like he’s safe when they’re here, and that’s what starts him calming down,” she said.
Jon Sandage, McClean County Sherriff, said his officers “have a soft spot in their heart for Tyler,” and said he is proud of the care and compassion they have shown towards Tyler and his family, which is the result of years of building a relationship. Shipley agrees that the officers have always treated Tyler with respect, and says that their positive impact will be life-long. At a time of strained relations with police, Shipley hopes the officers’ act of kindness will play some role in improving the way that other officers interact with ordinary citizens.
“He knows they’re there to help,” Shipley said. “That’s what we need from police officers across the country.”