The police officers had a “unique” way of approaching the little girl.
When 38-year-old police officer Pricer and his partner Scott Marsh turned up to investigate a tip about a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood of Huntington Beach, they weren’t expecting to find an eleven-year-old girl at the scene. The quick-thinking Pricer pulled the girl aside.
“For an eleven-year-old girl, to see a police officer towering over her is a scary thing,” he knew. “I was trying to break the ice and get her to feel comfortable with me.”
What One Police Officer Did When He Noticed a Homeless Girl
Photo by Legend Vibe
So Pricer took out some chalk and drew a hopscotch board on the sidewalk. He then numbered the squares. He found something to use as a marker. But when he turned to invite the girl to go first, it turned out that she didn’t know how to play. So Pricer taught her.
As Pricer explained the rules and gave the delighted girl a demonstration, Officer Marsh was talking with the girl’s mom over by their car. The two were experiencing especially hard times and had been living in the car. Marsh immediately contacted his department’s Homeless Task Force to sort out housing arrangements. He talked with the girl’s mother to learn more about their situation and find options to help her.
Meanwhile, Pricer was learning more about the situation, too — from a different angle. Using the game as an ice breaker, he opened up a line of communication with the child and learned more about how her and her mom had been living on the streets. The game gave them something positive to focus on as they gradually talked about some of the other issues.
Of course, as any good officer of the law would do, Pricer made sure that the girl understood the rules of the game and when she was breaking them. “You touched the line,” he pointed out. But he was also forgiving and generous: “I’m going to let you go because it’s your first time. I’ll give it to you.”
The two perfected their hopscotch game, and the girl relaxed around the police officer. The scene of a police officer in full uniform hopping around on one leg with a young girl on a sunny street so touched the hearts of passersby that one took a video and posted it to social media. It soon went viral. The video has been viewed almost two million times, has over 3,000 comments and over 52,000 reactions. Repostings bear the hashtag #copslovehopscotch.
Many commented that, with all the negative press that police officers get these days, it’s so nice to see their positive interactions with the public as well. Another pointed out that such interactions are not only good for the public but also for the officers themselves, as they spend much of their time in not-so-pleasant situations. It’s good for them to blow off steam, too.
What that young girl will likely remember from what was otherwise a scary and sad time in her life is a delightful interaction with a police officer that distracted her for a moment, put her at ease, and made her laugh. Small acts of kindness like that one have a huge impact on how people, especially children, see figures of authority and the world.
Officer Pricer has well over a decade of experience serving his community in law enforcement, undoubtedly extending a hand and having a positive impact on many other children and adults as well.