There’s little doubt a scene like this is repeated multiple times a day all across America. But it’s rarely captured on film.
That’s probably the reason why a photo of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Tim Purdy talking things out with a potentially suicidal teen with autism has wracked up thousands of shares online.
The incident happened in May in North Carolina. The teen had wandered away from his home in the early morning hours.
Purdy knew that the teen had a history of violent behavior.
“I was just thinking to myself, ‘What are you going to do? What are you going to do? How are you going to handle that?’ ” he recalled.
Then, the teen sat down. And to create a connection with him, Purdy followed.
“I got down on my knees and kind of made that eye contact,” he said. “We just started talking, and it went from there.”
They talked about school, about family and football. Pretty soon, they were both laughing.
“This is something that tens of thousands of law enforcement officers that are out there do every single day,” Purdy said in a video. “You just don’t hear about it.”
The police department posted the photo on its Facebook page in mid-May. It has been shared more than 250,000 times.