When Officer Tim Purdy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina arrived at the scene, he took one look at the situation and knew right away that things might escalate quickly. In a parking lot, a 300-pound, 18-year-old man with autism and a history of violence was surrounded by police and looking agitated, seemingly a ticking time bomb.
Earlier that morning, the teen had wandered away from his school, and people were panicking. But when Purdy arrived, he did something jaw-dropping--and the photo that was captured of the ordeal now has everyone applauding his quick thinking.
With the teen was sitting on the ground, Purdy crouched down to be at eye level and began gently asking him questions: how he was doing, how school was, and to tell him about the bracelet made of duct tape he was wearing. For the next 20 minutes, he calmly chatted and joked with him, and the stressed out teen eventually began laughing and relaxing a bit.
Eventually, the teen's mother and a school administrator showed up, but not before someone had a chance to snap a photo of the calm conversation, which was then posted on the police department's Facebook page--and has since gone viral.
"There's more to policing than making arrests and enforcing the law. Sometimes taking those extra little steps makes the biggest difference in someone's life," the post read.
See what Officer Purdy had to say about his kind act in this quick video.