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Photo of Cop Holding Baby Has Heartbreaking—and Heartwarming—Back Story

St. Albans Police Department

The Short of It

When a West Virginia cop was called to the scene of a disturbance at a local Kroger grocery store, he couldn't believe what he found. Now a photo taken of him with a mistreated baby is getting a lot of attention due to the kindness he and other officers demonstrated.

The Lowdown

Police were initially called to the St. Albans Kroger grocery store for a shoplifting incident, but then employees came out and said there was a problem inside.

Sgt. Philip Bass was shocked when he discovered 39-year-old Donnyell Harrison locked in the store's bathroom with a 14-month-old baby girl, who was holding a baby bottle filled with Dr. Pepper. Harrison had been in there more than 20 minutes and was yelling at the child, who was crying.

Sgt. Bass told WCHS TV8 that Harrison, who was reportedly found with drugs, explained, "'Well, I didn't have anything else to give her!' And I said, 'Well, you're in Kroger!'" The woman, who was not the baby's mother, was soon arrested and charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute.

Sadly, the officers learned the baby's mother is currently in jail, and she'd ended up under Harrison's "care" after being passed around.

While Bass and other officers waited more than four hours for Child Protective Services to arrive, they cared for the baby and bought her baby food, diapers, and small toys. A photo that was taken of Sgt. Bass holding the baby during that time has been shared all over the Internet.

"Sometimes we're a warrior; sometimes we're a guardian; sometimes we're a babysitter!" said Cpt. James Agee, who also helped care for the baby.

The Upshot

Obviously, this is a very sad story; as Sgt. Bass says, it's hard to imagine treating your own baby this way. But the silver lining is the child was able to encounter genuine human kindness as well. Here's hoping this experience is the first of many such encounters for her.

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